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£150k ‘carrot’ to persuade East Cambridgeshire to join civil parking ‘club’

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A window of opportunity – with the promise of £150,000 – has been offered to East Cambridgeshire District Council to bring in Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE).

Cambridgeshire County Council and other bodies have already pledged support for Fenland, Huntingdonshire and South Cambridgeshire who are already moving towards CPE.

But in a surprise move, announced today by the county council, it clearly hopes East Cambs will come aboard.

Steve Cox, executive director of place and sustainability for the county council, revealed the offer to East Cambs in a report to highways and transport committee on December 6.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. ELY

He said in addition to the three districts already being supported “and subject to respective approval, the same one-off, time-limited financial offer of £150k would be available to East Cambridgeshire District Council should it choose to take up CPE at this time”.

East Cambridgeshire is the last remaining part of Cambridgeshire not to switch to CPE – indeed within the next two years will be possibly the last in the country to adopt it.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. ELY

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. WISBECH

East Cambs council leader Anna Bailey has always made her position clear.

“I do not want to use the sledgehammer of Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) to crack a nut, so we are working with Cambridgeshire Constabulary on a solution that has not yet been implemented anywhere else in the country to tackle this issue once and for all.”

However, as CambsNews has reported, her solution of using what would effectively volunteers to ‘police’ parking is some way from being accepted by Cambridgeshire police as a solution.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. SOUTH CAMBS

However, delays in likely training and vetting were reported by police to a recent East Cambs council meeting that debated it.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority.

And in turn the powers for enforcement are handed down to local district councils. CPE decriminalises parking enforcement across each district.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. FENLAND

Mr Cox has outlined a projected timetable of when CPE will come into force in each area:

South Cambridgeshire – December 2023

Fenland – May 2024

Huntingdonshire – October 24

Mr Cox will tell councillors that once the wheels are in motion – and a designation order signed off – it cannot be rescinded.

If Government approves, the county council will be responsible for both the enforcement and administration of any on-street restriction.

However, all, or part, of these responsibilities can be delegated to the districts via an agency agreement.

Progress on each scheme:

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. ELY

Fenland District Council (FDC), via a funding grant from Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA), have agreed to cover all associated set-up costs.

FDC have also committed to covering an estimated annual operational deficit of £45-£75k.

“It is not expected that CPE in Fenland will be self-sufficient,” says Mr Cox.

“Unlike other districts, the opportunity for the introduction of paid for parking to off-set any deficit is limited.”

Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) has capital funding to cover all associated set-up costs and has committed to covering an annual estimated operational deficit of around £60k.

He says: “It is not expected that CPE in Huntingdonshire will be self-sufficient.

“Increased on-street paid for parking and/or bus gates could be considered within the market towns to off-set any deficit.”

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. FENLAND

One of the photos that prompted an avalanche of complaints to Huntingdonshire police about illegal parking

South Cambridgeshire – the GCP has committed to cover all associated set-up costs and also committed to covering an estimated annual operational deficit of £30k-£50k.

“This is because CPE in South Cambridgeshire has been identified by the GCP as being one of the measures through which travel demand can be managed within the Greater Cambridge Area,” says Mr Cox.

“Paid for parking is currently being considered within the district due to the ongoing level of development and the GCP’s plans to manage travel.

“Whilst it is not expected that CPE alone in South Cambridgeshire will be self-sufficient, it is expected that the revenue generated via the introduction of paid for parking or bus gates / lanes may cover any operational deficit.”

Mr Cox says various bodies are considering “collective funding” to support CPE which aligns with policies that encourage greater use of public transport and would deliver the objectives of a draft local transport plan.

Mr Cox says that although the county council ultimately carries the statutory obligations if CPE is introduced, “the financial risks will sit with the districts”.

One reason for the delay, he says, is the work needed to ensure Traffic Regulation Orders, signs and lines associated with parking restrictions are accurate and enforceable.

“This is to ensure the motorist understands the restrictions in place and traffic orders can be robustly enforced through the appeals process,” he says.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. HUNTINGDON

The signs and lines surveys for all districts have been undertaken by RTA Associates (RTA) a company who are experienced in decriminalised parking enforcement.

Mr Cox says the RTA survey work highlighted ‘queries’ where some level of remedial work was required.

“A significant amount of officer time has and, continues to be invested into this review process,” says Mr Cox.

“An average of 1,075 queries have been received across both South Cambridgeshire and Fenland.”

Mr Cox says getting all traffic orders in place correctly “is essential to deliver an efficient and effective civil enforcement service.

“This is critical for the appeals process, where officers can expeditiously prepare cases for the parking adjudicator within targeted timescales”.

He adds: “The introduction of CPE will enable the councils to move away from relying on the police for parking enforcement and to have the ability to focus enforcement on specific areas.

Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) transfers the powers and responsibilities for on-street enforcement from the police to the highway authority. ELY

“Areas where traffic flow, accessibility, and safety is compromised by persistent obstructive parking and where congestion and, air pollution are high and parking turnover is essential to supporting local business.”

Mr Cox says: “The introduction of CPE will by addressing obstructive parking, improve access for all who use the highway and those that use pavements.

“It will support safer roads, a reduction in car use, and alignment to Vision Zero/Road safety partnership outcomes.

“In addition, CPE will reduce congestion and improve air quality.

“The flexibility CPE brings will enable the targeted enforcement of problematic parking.

“It will support the economic growth of market towns and help with the creation of successful, well-functioning communities.

“It will help manage some of the conflict around parking, the use of cycle paths, footways and help to embed good parking behaviours.”

Mr Cox says that various grants including those from Combined Authority and Greater Cambridge Partnership, should ease the financial burden of CPE.

He says each council can expect funding of £150,000 which, at the time of writing, “has been agreed in principle, and we await letters of confirmation.

“The above funding would increase to £200k per organisation, should East Cambridgeshire District Council elect to progress CPE at this time.

“This one-off funding offer would only be able to be made during the current financial year and would need to be withdrawn from 1 April 2023.”

 

 

 

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