Councillors welcome parking enforcement

THE new wave of parking enforcement in Morpeth has been backed by town councillors.

Earlier this year 26 traffic wardens were employed by Northumberland County Council to carry out parking enforcement after the authority took on the role from police.

The Civil Enforcement Officers can issue fines for drivers falling foul of restrictions on yellow lines, resident parking schemes, school keep clear areas, loading bays, taxi ranks, disabled bays and in car parks.

And the council hopes it will lead to less obstruction and congestion in towns, as well as improve road safety.

But not all are happy about the crackdown and an e-mail was sent to Morpeth Town Council from a resident and business owner concerned that the regulations are being enforced too rigorously.

However, members of the authority’s Planning and Transport Committee gave the thumbs up to the wardens.

Coun Ken Brown said: “The town council did support civil on-street parking enforcement as part of the county council’s parking proposals. As far as I’m aware there are no new yellow lines being brought in by this scheme.

“The anti-social parking caused significant annoyance and inconvenience to many people.”

He added: “That is really why the town council supported the enforcement. Unless we are going to change policy then we will continue to support that.

“What I would say is that both the second round of the Portas pilot and the Neighbourhood Development Plan offer an opportunity to review where parking is permitted in the town.”

Coun Ian Lindley added: “I have been pressing that we do a full review of this because I’m conscious that a lot of people really rely on illegal parking.

“I have had parking tickets because I have got used to parking in a rather lax fashion so I do have sympathy for people inconvenienced by it, but we do have to enforce parking restrictions.”

Coun Nic Best said clamping down on drivers parking on footpaths may present an opportunity for them to be repaired.

“A lot of the pavements are cracked in Morpeth, especially outside a number of pubs where there have been deliveries because cars park on the road and also on the pavement.

“If that stops it will be worthwhile the county council repairing the pavements,” he said.

“I have also had complaints from people in Middle Greens and High Stanners asking when can the traffic wardens go around there and ticket people who are parking illegally so there is another perspective.”

Committee Chairman Graeme Trotter agreed.

“It sometimes takes time for a new initiative to bed in, but from a resident’s point of view I live in Dacre Street and the residents are delighted with what is going on,” he said.

“Before, we as permit holders couldn’t get parked and I got a ticket before Christmas because I couldn’t get parked and used the car park.

“It is deeply frustrating when you get a ticket, but you won’t do it again.

“Everybody knows what a double yellow line looks like.

“The enforcement people are human beings and they are out there doing a job.”