To receive an update report on progress relating to the introduction of Civil Parking Enforcement.
Alison Dray, Service Manager, Highway Assets, delivered a report updating the Committee on the intention of the Council to introduce Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE), explaining that the Council was on track and that there were certain aspects she would not be able to comment on as they were subject to a tendering process. She outlined the steps in the process and indicated the methods the department were using to maximise the success of the roll-out, the key points of which included engagement in public consultation; dialogue with stake holders including the police, and a public campaign.
In response to a question regarding abuse of the parking permit system, the Service Manager stated that the current situation was a temporary one, being impacted by the works going on around the town, and that the introduction of CPE would help address this by consistent and regular patrolling. Richard Turner, Procurement Business Partner, Corporate, went on to explain that the contract would include conditions allowing for a re-organisation of hours to cover hot spot areas and times. The contract also allows for the provision of additional resources to support specific needs of Town & Parish Councils and other stakeholders, though this would have to be balanced with cost.
In regards to the cost of the scheme and fines, the Service Manager explained that most of the line marking and signage that would be required was or had been done as part of routine road improvement or maintenance. She indicated that experience of other councils showed it was better to look at fine tuning of road markings and so on when the impact of enforcement had been measured six months to a year after the start. She confirmed that monitoring and annual reporting would be part of the contract as it was important it was scrutinised. She went on to state that the level of penalties would be set by the Department of Transport and that the service should be cost neutral.
In response to a Member question regarding risk if there were to be a delay in the introduction of CPE, the Service Manager indicated that the contract was being written in such a way to reduce risk. She explained that the CPE market was a mature one, and that contractors understood the risks. In addition, there would be other parts of highway and car park enforcement that would be managed by the chosen contractor in the meantime.
The Service Manager went on to explain that the contractor would be expected to engage with stakeholders and that this included the police. She stated that some roads, such as high-speed roads like the M4, and obstructions would continue to be managed by the police.
Acting Chief Inspector Christina Berenger, Deputy LPA Commander for Bracknell and Wokingham, stated that Civil Enforcement would be the extra eyes and ears for the police, allowing the police to focus on their main business and, as such, would have a positive impact on the whole. She indicated that it was likely that a system of community radios would be re-started in Wokingham Town Centre that would link the Council Enforcement Officers and the Police.
Members felt that communication of the new system and how it would work was essential, so Officers outlined a range of methods they would employ to raise the profile of CPE among the public and its positives. The Service Manager also clarified that there would be a mapping system that the public could use that would improve access to information
1. Alison Dray, Service Manager, Highway Assets, be thanked for the Update on the introduction of CPE;
2. The Update be noted, and
3. The Committee receive an update as part of the report on the Car Parking Strategy Update due in June 2017.