Responsibility for parking enforcement in Cherwell could be given to council next year

Motorists regularly park on the double yellow lines on High Street, Banbury NNL-161005-140152009
Motorists regularly park on the double yellow lines on High Street, Banbury NNL-161005-140152009

Parking enforcement across Cherwell district could be taken out of the police’s hands and given to councils to control next year.

It follows moves across Oxfordshire to take the powers from Thames Valley Police, with statistics showing the force’s performance is mixed at best.

According to Cherwell District Council papers, a draft strategy for Oxfordshire could be agreed by councillors in March.

If that is agreed, then senior councillors on the authorities’ executives will be asked to approve that and then send it out for consultation.

Cherwell District Council papers state: “Yvonne Constance (Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, and responsible for roads) and (council service manager – highways) Rikke Hanson attended a meeting on December 5, 2018 and discussed the possibilities of decriminalisation of parking in the Cherwell district.”

It continues: “It is anticipated that the draft strategy will be submitted to the (Cherwell District Council overview and scrutiny) committee’s March meeting and, subject to agreement, to executives in June to agree it goes out for consultation.”

More than 3,000 tickets were handed out to drivers in Banbury from 2017 until October 2018, a freedom of information request showed.

Many see the decriminalisation of parking as the answer to irresponsible motorists breaking the rules without the threat of punishment.

At the moment, Thames Valley Police are responsible for enforcing parking regulations but the force says it cannot priorities it.

But if it was given to councils to control, then it can set the laws and pay for the enforcement.

In West Oxfordshire and Oxford where parking is already decriminalised, the results have been mixed.

Oxfordshire County Council is responsible in the city, while West Oxfordshire District Council is responsible for that district’s enforcement.

The district council said it made a lost last year with on-street parking enforcement costing £99,000.

While the county council made about £1.2m in parking fines over 2017/18, with 39,266 tickets handed out during that year.