Medway’s parking chief says he’ll look at a government idea to allow motorists five-minutes’ grace after their ticket expires.
A parliamentary report suggests “a deep-rooted perception that local authorities view parking enforcement as a cash cow.”
The Commons Transport Committee said it was “hard to justify parking fines that are substantially more than the fines for more serious offences like speeding” and outlined new proposals for public consultation.
These include parking fine reductions, grace periods and a ban on the use of CCTV cameras to enforce restrictions. Medway Council has come under fire for the use of spy camera cars to penalise motorists.
The government has also frozen the maximum fines councils can impose – ranging from £40 to £70 outside of London, and £70 to £130 in the capital.
But if the government is looking to put the council cash cows out to pasture, in Medway Council’s portfolio holder for frontline services, Cllr Phil Philmer was content to chew the cud, saying: “We have to look at it and wait. Until you get something concrete you think ‘perhaps it’s a good idea’ but it’s difficult to know what we’re going to do.”
He stopped short of criticising the proposals and refuted the notion of parking enforcement as a ‘council cash cow’.
He said: “The fact is we use the money for road safety. If people didn’t park illegally they wouldn’t get a fine.
“The reason we had CCTV cars in the first place was to solve parking problems outside schools. We had lots of complaints and it seems to be a concern to head teachers.
“We tried zigzag lines on the road but people didn’t take any notice.”
The council has reduced its CCTV cars to one after regulations curtailing their use in areas which can be patrolled on foot.