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Government department takes FOUR months to respond to Suffolk parking proposals

PUBLISHED: 08:06 01 November 2018 | UPDATED: 12:00 01 November 2018

POlice and PCSOs currently enforce parking in Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN

POlice and PCSOs currently enforce parking in Suffolk Picture: GREGG BROWN

A government department is facing criticism after it took four months to respond to Suffolk’s councils about a key parking issue.

Police and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said he was furious with the delays  Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWNPolice and Crime Commissioner Tim Passmore said he was furious with the delays Picture: SARAH LUCY BROWN

From April next year, parking enforcement responsibility is due to transfer from Suffolk police to district and borough councils.

In March, the Suffolk Public Sector Leaders group – made up of police bosses, all council leaders and chief executives – was told the parliamentary timetable meant there was not enough time to prepare it.

Now it has emerged Suffolk Highways wrote to the transport secretary in March offering to draft the legwork of the legislation to enable the plans to go ahead, but the Department for Transport (DfT) finally responded four months later turning down the offer.

It means the already-stretched police resources will now face an additional 12 months enforcing parking – despite recent cutbacks in the number of PCSOs who would be carrying out the work.

Mary Evans from Suffolk County Council said it would continue pursuing the parking enforcement changes Picture: GREGG BROWNMary Evans from Suffolk County Council said it would continue pursuing the parking enforcement changes Picture: GREGG BROWN

Mary Evans, Suffolk County Council cabinet member for highways and transport, said: “Locally, preparations have been on track for implementation in April 2019.

“The DfT has advised that Suffolk’s timescale for civil parking enforcement will not be achievable because its priority is to assist with the work involved in Brexit.

“The DfT is well aware that the councils across the county will need six months’ lead time to put necessary arrangements in place.

“However, despite our best efforts to maintain dialogue, the DfT has provided no indication when they will consider our application.

“Although the delays are frustrating, in Suffolk we remain committed to working with the DfT to achieve the transfer to Civil Parking Enforcement as soon as possible.”

Ipswich Borough Council is currently the only authority in Suffolk which has responsibility for enforcing parking.

Suffolk police and crime commissioner Tim Passmore said: “I am absolutely furious. All they have to do is sign off on it.

“I just find it extraordinary where this would help everybody in this county that the DfT has just been so obstructive.”

A spokesman from the DfT said: “We understand the importance of parking enforcement to local communities and will continue to work with councils on their applications.”

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