Sunday, 01 August 2021

Traffic wardens return to stop illegal parking

Traffic wardens return to stop illegal parking

TRAFFIC wardens are set to return to Henley to crack down on drivers who park illegally.

Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, will take responsibility for civil parking enforcement across the county from November 1 after the Government approved its bid to decriminalise it.

This means tickets and fines across South Oxfordshire will be issued by the council’s wardens instead of Thames Valley Police.

The authority says it will create new on-street pay and display parking spaces to pay for the change, although it is yet to confirm where these would go.

Enforcement will be carried out by a contractor acting on the council’s behalf and fines will vary from £50 to £70 with a 50 per cent discount if paid within 14 days.

A dedicated email address and telephone line will be set up for members of the public to report any breach of the rules and the council will publicise the change in the months leading up to it.

Wardens are already employed to monitor parking at Henley Town Council’s car parks at Mill Meadows and in Mill Lane but town councillors have called for their remit to be extended to include on-street parking.

This covers vehicles parked on pavements or double yellow lines as well as in loading bays, which are often abused by car drivers, which prevents lorries being able to make deliveries.

Discussions had been going on for some time but the scheme, which was subject to a full review by the Department for Transport, needed the approval of all the town and district councils and Cherwell District Council was previously against the idea.

Henley town, district and county councillor Stefan Gawrysiak said: “I’m extremely pleased to see this come to light after years and years of campaigning.

“The police should not be involved in ticketing cars but should be pouring their resources into serious crime.

“Because the attendants will be based at Henley town hall, we’ll have some control over their activities and should be able to target hotspots like Mount View, Hop Gardens and up by The Henley College.

“Their arrival should have an immediate impact on this source of irritation for local residents who can find themselves unable to get out of their driveways if there are cars parked across them.

“It will also have an impact on Henley’s air quality problems because if the streets are blocked by parked cars, traffic is simply left idling and pumping emissions into the atmosphere.

“This is great news for Henley and I’m hugely thankful to the officers at the county and district councils as well as town councillors Ken Arlett and Kellie Hinton, who’ve been pushing for this for six years.”

Henley Mayor Sarah Miller said: “This has been a long time coming. The police have too many serious incidents to deal with and parking enforcement quite rightly isn’t a priority.

“It will be great to have wardens like we used to when I was a child because they stopped people parking where they weren’t supposed to. It will force people to use our car parks and they will be able find spaces even if they have to wait.”

Councillor Tim Bearder, the county council’s member for highways management, said: “This is one of the most significant changes the county will be making in decades and we’re delighted to be bringing it in.”

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