Trader hits out at attitude of wardens

An Alnwick businessman has slammed the attitude of parking officials.

Alnwick Chamber of Trade member Geoff Proudlock has called for more ‘common sense’ from the county council traffic wardens.

The enforcement officers were introduced after the council took on responsibility for civil parking matters earlier this year.

But Mr Proudlock says their strict attitude risks driving customers away from the town.

“Alnwick is up in arms about some of the attitudes of the traffic wardens. A little bit of common sense would be appreciated,” he said.

“I’m not blaming the wardens for this.

“I think the regime has said they will be strict to start with and I wouldn’t disagree with that because in many ways that is what you have to do, but there does need to be a little bit of common sense applied here.

“It is becoming increasingly obvious that people are saying they are not coming back to the town because of the attitude of some of the wardens and the way they are being so harsh in the way they are applying the rules.”

Mr Proudlock also complained that it appears that the traffic officers are arriving in teams and hitting the town for a few days at a time, before moving on elsewhere.

“Is it not possible that we can go back to what we had many years ago when we had one permanent parking attendant who would keep the traffic moving?” he said.

The comments were made at a meeting of Morpeth and District Chamber of Trade last week when county parking officials were invited to discuss a number of traffic concerns.

Mr Proudlock was representing the Alnwick business group.

County parking manager Lynne Ryan said that Alnwick is covered by a mobile enforcement team, but there are officers in the town at some point every day.

She said she was keen to hear concerns about the service and would raise them with officers, but added that there is no scope for them to use discretion in applying the rules.

“We appreciate things like that will be better if a bit of common sense is used, but the officers have a very difficult job to do in terms of consistency and how we apply things and the officers do not have discretion,” she said.

“They do have clear policies to work towards that ensures we have consistency and fairness in what we do.”

She added: “In terms of attitude I’m very keen to hear about the officers’ behaviour. It is important that we do get that feedback.

“We have had a lot of abusive situations, very difficult situations and physical assaults on officers and as a result of that we are trialling body cameras for officers.

“It is for their health and safety, but it also means we are aware of officers’ behaviour.”