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More illegal parking feared after cut in police cover
Published 26/11/12

DRIVERS could be left free to park illegally in Watlington due to a reduction in police cover for the town, say councillors.

The parish council is to protest to Thames Valley Police after the force decided not to replace a retiring officer.

Watlington is in the 100 square mile Thame police sector which used to have five beat officers but an officer in Thame left recently and will not be replaced.

Parish councillors voted unanimously in support of writing to the area inspector to voice their concerns.

Barry Adby, chairman of the council’s operations committee, said: “As a parish council, we are understandably concerned there isn’t the cover that there has been.”

Last month, Pc Ian Kent told the committee that it was often difficult for him to leave Thame in order to come to Watlington because of the size of his workload.

Councillors have asked police officers to tackle illegal parking in High Street and Couching Street during the day and in Love Lane around school run times.

The poor state of double yellow lines in the area is thought to have contributed to the problem as some drivers have successfully contested parking tickets.

Councillor Adby said drivers ignored yellow lines.

“It causes problems as people park here, there and everywhere,” he said. “Buses can’t get round the town and unfortunately, due to a lack of money, the [county] council has not got the money to re-do the yellow lines, so technically a lot of them are unenforceable.”

A recent report by Pcso Diane Greenwood said warnings had been issued to drivers found to be committing offences during checks on vehicles parked in High Street and Couching Street.

The county council has agreed to repaint the double yellow lines in Couching Street, Shirburn Street and High Street but not in other areas. Police have suggested yellow lines should be painted on the bend in Love Lane but this would require a traffic order.

Area inspector Mark Harling said the Thame sector should have only four neighbourhood officers and had been overstaffed.

He added: “It has become necessary to come back to the four that there should be as the force is not in a position to employ surplus officers long term. The neighbourhood team, although important, is not the only police presence in this area. There are still the 24/7 reactive teams covering the Thame area along with CID at Didcot and Abingdon.”

Published 26/11/12

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