The Government has committed to a change in the law this year to give powers to decriminalise parking in Rother and bring in traffic wardens. The response came following a call from the House of Commons Transport Select Committee that the “Department for Transport must not drag its feet, citing external or resourcing issues, and must act now to meet the requests of local authorities to decriminalise parking enforcement.” The Committee of MPs had warned that “Areas which have not had their parking enforcement decriminalised lack the resources to ensure adequate parking enforcement. This can blight communities and encourages anti-social parking behaviour, such as pavement parking. We saw numerous examples of this anti-social behaviour during our visit to Bexhill-on-Sea.”
In its response, the Department for Transport said that “a further Statutory Instrument is planned for later this year and will give powers to another group of authorities, including East Sussex. We will move with as much haste as possible.”
The commitment was given by the Government as it accepted a raft of proposals from the Transport Select Committee and launched a consultation to ban pavement parking in England. The Chair of the Transport Select Committee, local MP Huw Merriman, welcomed the commitment to legislate to give East Sussex County Council the powers to manage parking in Rother and the commitment to fix pavement parking problems.
Huw said “I am pleased the Government has taken on board the Committee’s concerns about the very real difficulties presented by pavement parking and our proposed solutions. During our inquiry, our committee received more than 400 pieces of written evidence, revealing the depth of concern. During a visit to my Bexhill and Battle constituency, MPs were able to see for themselves our appalling parking problem and hear directly from impacted groups from across East Sussex in a public meeting held in Bexhill. I welcome the commitment to legislate to bring in civil enforcement albeit I had hoped that this would be completed by mid-year. With the current pressure on legislation from Coronavirus, I hope further delay is not encountered. I look forward to the day when our constituency high streets are well managed with pedestrians better able to access their shops. This does not mean stopping people from parking outside their home but it does mean selfish parking in our town centres has to be brought to heel.”
East Sussex County Council has committed to delivering parking reform to the Rother area following years of debate as to whether the police or local authority parking wardens should cover this operation. Rother and Wealden District Councils are in the last remaining 14 councils across the United Kingdom where the police remain responsible for enforcing parking penalty notices.