September 19 2014 Latest news:
Friday, July 18, 2014
Almost 40 parking tickets are issued every day in Ipswich – with drivers paying more than £1million in fines in the last three years, it can be revealed.
Traffic wardens have swooped on more than 40,000 illegally parked vehicles in the town since 2011, figures obtained by the Star also show.
And the borough council is still chasing up more than 2,000 unpaid tickets, worth more than £180,000.
The news comes as the Government takes steps to make it easier and cheaper for drivers to park in town centres and put a stop to the mass exodus of shoppers fleeing the high street to shop online or visit out-of-town retail parks which boast free parking.
Eric Pickles, the Communities Secretary, previously claimed local authorities are using motorists as “cash cows” – and is aiming to make town centres more attractive for shoppers.
Under new rules, drivers will be given a 10-minute grace period after their parking tickets expire before being fined to stop wardens from making the high street a no-go zone, while people and businesses can demand a review of parking in their area, including charges and the use of yellow lines.
Mr Pickles said: “Over-zealous parking enforcement and unreasonable stealth fines by post undermine the high street, push up the cost of living and cost local authorities more in the long-term.”
There are 12 full-time traffic enforcement officers in Ipswich. The borough council says unsafe parking needs to be penalised to protect people’s safety, make the town more attractive for traders and shoppers, help fund council services and relieve pressure on council taxes.
A total of 40,238 tickets were issued between 2011/12 and 2013/14 - an average of 37 every day, the figures released by Ipswich Borough Council under Freedom of Infroamtion laws showed.
The council received £1.14m from these penalty charge notices.
At the end of the last financial year, 2,127 tickets had not been paid – worth £181,465.68. It is thought the majority of these will be successfully pursued by the council.
In addition, over the last three years the council has cancelled 3,853 tickets.
Last night, Carole Jones, the borough’s portfolio-holder economic development, said the authority is “committed” to helping businesses in the town centre.
She said the Quids-In campaign providing cheap afternoon parking and discounted bus fares into the town centre has had a “positive impact”.
Ipswich Central chief executive Paul Clement said: “Visitors into the town centre are its life blood so we need to do everything possible to bring them in.
“The Quids-In campaign which offers parking for £1 after 3pm is a great example of a promotion that has seen significant increases in use of the participating car parks in this period.”
An Ipswich Borough Council spokesman added: “We have a rigorous enforcement policy and comprehensive appeals process and will continue to seek recovery of outstanding fines whenever it is possible to do.
“The outstanding debt for this year will recede as we progress. Our message to motorists is simple: don’t flout the law and you will not face a fine.”