‘Significantly more’ parking fines were issued in the past two years in Northumberland despite fewer wardens and the move to free parking.
The annual parking report, for the financial year 2015/16, was presented at yesterday’s meeting of Northumberland County Council’s community and local services scrutiny committee.
Among the issues highlighted in the report are the fact that the council’s civil enforcement officers (CEOs) are also warranted officers for the enforcement of dog fouling and littering ‘which has helped the council to see a significant increase in this type of enforcement’. However, there were fewer CEOs working across the county during the past two financial years – 18, down from 26 in April 2014, when free parking was implemented ‘as there was an expectation that enforcement levels would reduce’.
This has not proved to be the case though as ‘the 2014/15 financial year saw significantly more penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued than either of the previous years’ and this level was matched more or less last year.
In 2014/15, a total of 23,126 PCNs were issued to illegally parked vehicles and just 3.82 per cent of these were cancelled following representations made to the council.
Last year, a total of 23,016 PCNs were issued to illegally parked vehicles and only 3.77 per cent of these were cancelled following representations to the council.
The statistics show that there has been an increase of people parking on single and double-yellow lines in Ashington, Berwick, Blyth and Ponteland, but in Alnwick, Hexham and Morpeth, there has been a reduction.
In Alnwick car parks, the vast majority of the 1,447 contraventions in the last financial year were for not displaying a parking disc or for exceeding the maximum stay.
Across the county in 2015/16, on-street PCNs brought in £419,902 alongside £340,110 from off-street charges for a total of £760,012, higher than in either of the two previous years.
However, overall, the parking services budget had a deficit of £200,813, slightly higher than last year.