New powers to clamp and tow away cars to crackdown on problem parking in Ipswich
Powers to immobilise, clamp and tow away cars belonging to persistent problem parkers in Ipswich have been agreed by council chiefs.
Ipswich Borough Council's executive this week authorised a new policy that means motorists who regularly fail to pay fixed penalty notices can have their vehicle clamped and towed to a compound in Colchester.
Councillors also agreed to request powers from Suffolk County Council to remove cars parked on the highway that cause an obstruction.
Councillor Sarah Barber, Labour portfolio holder for the town centre, said: "These powers will allow IBC to take action against persistent evaders.
"These are people who have three or more PCNs [penalty charge notices] or parking tickets.
"The majority of PCNs are paid without any further action required by IBC. The power to immobilise or remove vehicles will greatly help IBC to tackle the problem of unpaid PCNs.
"It is not intended that this policy will be income generating, but because people will have to provide their addresses to release their car IBC will be able to pursue any historic debt."
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The council's report said that, in 2020, there were 193 persistent evaders in the borough - those where three or more penalty notices have been issued but not paid - with notices on those vehicles totalling 1,663.
One vehicle alone had 121 notices last year.
The new policy is due to come into force on April 1, subject to approval from the county council.
Mrs Barber said that SCC has indicated that it is "satisfied with the principle of the proposals" and no delay was anticipated.
Ipswich is the first authority to request such powers, but Mrs Barber said it is likely other Suffolk councils may request the same.
Conservative group leader Ian Fisher said it has been "a massive issue for us in Ipswich".
He added: "I am very pleased to see this come to executive, it's something that I have been on to various different officers at the council about for quite some time."
However, he questioned why the bid for the powers had taken so long. Correspondence had begun in 2019 between the two councils, he said.