MORE than 5,000 parking tickets have been handed out in Bridlington in the first year of East Riding Council’s civil parking enforcement.
Since the council took over parking enforcement from Humberside Police in November 2011, 15,259 penalty charge notices (PCN) have been issued by council officers across the East Riding, with just over a third (5,254) of those in Bridlington, up until the end of October 2012.
In their final year of non-pay and display, on street enforcement, Humberside Police gave out 3,619 tickets in the East Riding, and just 319 in Bridlington.
East Riding Council said the number of tickets it has issued compares favourably with neighbouring authorities and that they have taken “a fair and balanced approach”, despite a stream of complaints from disgruntled motorists flooding into the Free Press over the past year.
Bridlington Town Councillor Cyril Marsburg, who has long been a vocal opponent of the council’s parking policy in Bridlington, said the number of tickets being issued is affecting trade.
He said: “If you walk around the town, you can see the traffic wardens all over the place. They are killing trade, and if the numbers continue at this level you will end up with a ghost town. They are up and down Marshall Avenue every five minutes, it would be good if they could spot people littering or letting their dogs foul as well.
“The amount of tickets issued in Bridlington seems high, as if we are being used as a cash cow as Bridlington’s parking situation makes us easy prey.
“People have to pay for car parks in the town, Moorfield for example, but even if they were free people do not want to walk that far.”
Bridlington Mayor Coun Michael Charlesworth has also criticised what he says are “over-enthusiastic” traffic wardens – known as civil enforcement officers.
“I think the numbers of tickets given out act as a deterrent to residents and visitors from using the town centre. If you get a reputation for parking ticket mania, then you lose your attraction as a town to visit,” he said.
“It looks like these ERYC storm troopers are winning their battle against residents and visitors.
“They are particularly over-enthusiastic. When the old traffic wardens were in place, they were more likely to give advice than issue a ticket.”
Couns Charlesworth and Marsburg both also believe that reversing pedestrianisation on King Street would provide a partial solution to some of the town’s parking problems, and could ease the numbers of tickets issued.
Figures show that East Riding of Yorkshire Council is issuing fewer PCNs, per head, than most authorities in Yorkshire and the Humber.
The East Riding has a population of 338,700 and, with 15,259 PCNs issued, 4.6% of residents received a ticket.
This is compared with 18.6%, per head, for Scarborough’s 108,600 population and 11.1%, per head, of Harrogate’s populace of 158,700 (2010/2011 figures).
The council brought in £1,046,095 from parking tickets over the year – but they spent £1,177,256 on the operation, which included set up costs of £383,065, meaning the council lost £131,161.
Any money made from Civil Parking Enforcement can only be spent on traffic-related items, such as the maintenance of street signs and lines and improvements to parking facilities provided by the council.
John Skidmore, head of streetscene services at East Riding of Yorkshire Council, said: “From the start, our aim was to support safe and sensible parking across the East Riding, as the vast majority of motorists park properly and pay for the time they use.
“We still get daily requests from our residents to tackle parking problems and send out enforcement officers who invariably find that it is another example of a badly parked vehicle blocking someone’s access.”
Chairman of the East Riding Council Councillor Chad Chadwick told the Free Press that the best way to avoid a parking ticket is to stick to the parking rules in the town.
“If you’re parking legally there’s no need to worry. There are plenty of parking spaces, we go into town fairly regularly and we have never had a problem with parking.”
East Riding Council now employ 24 Civil Enforcement Officers and three supervisors across the East Riding – of those, 11 officers and one supervisor are employed in Bridlington.
Only three and a half traffic wardens were employed by Humberside Police across the entire East Riding in their final year of parking enforcement.