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‘Idiots guide to parking’ hints at police frustration in Ely

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Ely could soon be one of, if not the only, place in the country where police are expected to issue parking tickets – and the frustration is beginning to show.

Pressured by East Cambs Council to uphold the city’s parking restrictions, police issued what appeared to be an ‘idiots’ guide’ to parking in Ely.

“Parking Clarification – High Street, Ely,” says a post to Policing East Cambridgeshire Facebook page.

And accompanied, of course, by ticketed cars to support their post.

“On a Saturday, the High Street, Ely is a pedestrianised area,” says the reminder.

Drivers of any vehicles parked on the High Street on a Saturday have until 1000 hrs to remove them.

“There are signs all the way along the High Street that clearly show the parking restrictions that apply to ALL vehicles.

“Drivers of any vehicles parked on the High Street on a Saturday have until 1000 hrs to remove them.

“If your vehicle is still parked on the High Street after this time, you are likely to be issued with a £30 fixed penalty notice.

“This also applies to disabled badge holders.”

Police added: “There are a number of FREE car parks in Ely, and disabled badge holders are still allowed to park on Fore Hill.

Drivers of any vehicles parked on the High Street on a Saturday have until 1000 hrs to remove them.

“We regularly receive complaints regarding parking offences in and around Ely, and the Neighbourhood Policing Team (NPT) try to deal with them, whenever we have the time to do so.”

And they offered this suggestion:

If you’ve got a concern you would like to report, visit https://orlo.uk/deWuF

One post to the Policing East Cambs page said: “Fantastic to see fines are being dished out finally, but really does not help the problem in the long term.

“Ely is getting bigger and there is not enough parking to cope with the growth.

“Lived in the area for over 25 years and nothing has changed really when it comes to parking.

“It also didn’t help when they built houses on part of the old cathedral car park.”

Another reminded police that “parking on Forehill should be stopped as well”.

Residents photo of car parking in High Street and partly parked on pavement. Police urged residents to report offences online

Plenty agreed.

“They were out issuing fines on Forehill today – thank you,” wrote another resident.

“The parking on the double yellows is just ridiculous.

And another post added: “Parking on Fore Hill should be stopped.

“The car park is two minutes’ walk up the alley way beside what used to be Woolworth’s.

“To park on the road at top of Fore Hill is a danger to traffic and pedestrians as on a sharp bend at top near marketplace.

Parking signs in High Street, Ely

“Cars must pull in behind parked vehicles to allow oncoming vehicles pass and pull out into oncoming traffic to get round parked vehicles.”

East Cambs Council has resisted introducing civil parking enforcement that would shift responsibility to them as opposed to the council.

The council believes a system can be found to use volunteers as unpaid ‘traffic wardens’ and police think this is possible but finding the time to vet and train them is a major obstacle.

Supt James Sutherland spoke of the difficulties and challenges when he provided an update to the council on a scheme put forward more than a year ago to tackle illegal parking in Ely and East Cambridgeshire.

The district council is moving towards being the last local authority in the country to decline the option of civil parking enforcement.

This is when, as is now happening in Fenland, South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire, parking enforcement ceases to be a policing issue and becomes controlled by local councils.

Supt James Sutherland spoke to East Cambs councillors about a “potential solution to ameliorate some of the parking issues we have in Ely”.

Supt James Sutherland spoke to East Cambs councillors about a “potential solution to ameliorate some of the parking issues we have in Ely”.

In Ely, the issue has been exacerbated by the district council’s refusal to countenance paid parking (often regarded as a precursor to civil parking enforcement) although Fenland, for instance, is moving in that direction with continuation of free parking.

East Cambridgeshire believes, as its leader Anna Bailey said last year, it should not need civil parking enforcement to bring about changes. But she remains angry with those who fail to park properly.

“I am heartily sick of this anti-social, illegal, selfish behaviour and am working hard to get a long-term solution to the issue in place,” she said.

“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 finally.

“We are aware of the hotspots around the district, and we want to create a solution which is effective, cost effective and sustainable”.

Supt Sutherland offered little prospect of volunteers being around anytime soon to resolve parking enforcement, but he did explain to councillors that police now believed it was legally possible to use volunteers.

He said there was no legal hurdle to using volunteers (he had checked) and what was proposed is for Cambridgeshire police to create the role of road safety officer.

The volunteer scheme would model itself on speed watch and take inspiration from the special constabulary.

“It would be a much bigger evolution of volunteers that we have ever had in Cambridgeshire,” he said.

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