A proposal to buy a mobile enforcement vehicle to tackle dangerous parking outside schools needs “thrashing out” before any recommendation is made, a scrutiny committee decided.
A report to buy a car capable of issuing tickets for parking illegally – where no observation time is required – came before members of policy and pre-decision overview and scrutiny on January 21.
The proposed car would be clearly signed as a mobile enforcement unit with an estimated cost of £60,000 for the car and ANPR equipment and an extra staff member earning £20,000 per year to deal with verification.
Cllr Jacob Williams was permitted to address members and he strongly outlined his objections to the proposal.
These included civil liberty concerns and a lack of evidence supporting “anecdotal” claims in the report about the need for such a vehicle.
Cllr Williams said was he against the idea of the vehicle but did not seek to “play down the issue of parking outside schools.”
“I think it’s a major policy proposal, I don’t think it’s something minor,” he added.
He, and members of the committee, raised questions about what the vehicle would be used for outside of school hours as well as it’s inability to deal with parking on standard double yellows or resident bays.
“It does seem it could degenerate into a revenue raising exercise,” said Cllr Tony Baron who asked what the car would be doing outside the 20 weeks of school.
Head of street care and parking Marc Owen said it would be “an extra arm to our enforcement.”
There are currently 12 full time civil enforcement officers (CEOs), and two vacancies, working on a rota seven days a week and there were calls for employing more staff as an alternative solution.
Cllr Tim Evans highlighted the need for greater education of parents and how having the CEOs visit a school made a big difference in parking in his experience.
“Even with them just standing there people parked properly, if they did that on a regular basis there’d be no problems,” he added.
This was echoed by Cllr Williams who called for a “blitz” on illegal parking in bus bays, taxi ranks, loading bays, double yellow lines with ‘blips’ on the pavements and zig zags outside schools.
He said these were easy targets and “lowest hanging fruits.”
It was agreed that a working group would be set up to review the council’s approach to civil enforcement including the possibility of using a mobile enforcement vehicle.