The way parking is controlled in parts of Oxfordshire will change next week in a bid to create safer roads and help traffic flow more freely.
From 01 November, Oxfordshire County Council will take on the responsibility for civil parking enforcement from Thames Valley Police. The council already enforces parking in Oxford City. It has also delegated the role to the district council in West Oxfordshire. The county council is now taking over in South Oxfordshire, Vale of White Horse and at Cherwell District Council, ensuring continuity across the whole county.
The new arrangement also means the creation of extra on-street pay and display car parking spaces in the Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire and Cherwell districts. This will help market towns in the post-COVID-19 recovery period as it leads to a greater turnover of spaces, which is better for shops and businesses.
The aim is for the new arrangement to be self-funding, with the extra pay and display spaces helping to pay for enforcement costs, although there will be some limited funding from the three districts. And the civil enforcement officers will not get bonuses for issuing tickets – they are paid a wage.
Parking offences, which include overstaying in pay and display bays, double-parking, parking in disabled bays without a blue badge and on yellow lines, will be enforced by a contractor on behalf of the council. Penalty charges range from £50-£70 but will be reduced by 50 per cent if paid within 14 days.
Members of the public can report areas and incidents of illegal parking through a dedicated email address and telephone line. Officers will investigate and take enforcement action as required.
Councillor Tim Bearder, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways Management, said: “Residents in these affected districts have been suffering from motorists who park with near impunity. By taking control of managing parking offences, we can give local communities more input into parking enforcement in their areas.
“We are determined to make walking and cycling easier and safer and to improve bus services, and one way to do this is to improve the flow of traffic by penalising drivers who clog up the roads through inconsiderate parking and who put pedestrians, cyclists and other road users in danger.”
Councillor Dan Sames, Lead Member for Clean and Green at Cherwell District Council, said: “This will change how problem parking is enforced within Cherwell district. Those flouting parking regulations can expect to be dealt with more vigorously than in the past, which should deter inconsiderate and problem parking across the district. Three enforcement officers will operate initially with their focus mainly being in Banbury, Bicester and Kidlington, with other areas being dealt with as needed.”
Councillor Neil Fawcett, Cabinet Member for Strategic Partnerships and Place at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “This is very good news for all our residents and road users. Illegal parking creates congestion in our towns, resulting in a negative impact on local air quality, delays to public transport and potentially more serious issues for our emergency services. I’m pleased that we have been able to work with the county council, Cherwell and South Oxfordshire, to create this new enforcement scheme that the county council will oversee.”
Councillor David Rouane, South Oxfordshire District Council leader, said: “The county council taking on responsibility for parking enforcement will help us to ease congestion locally and be more effective when it comes to managing road safety. It will also help to free up police resources, strengthening neighbourhood policing and allowing them to focus more on the crimes that matter most to residents.”