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John To Help Traffic Wardens Return

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Long awaited plans to put parking wardens back on the streets of North Somerset have been finally given the green light – but when patrols will start has still not been agreed.

North Somerset Council was poised take over responsibility for controlled parking enforcement (CPE) from the police from October.

The authority applied to the Department for Transport in April for consent to take control, but move was held up pending Government agreement.

Council chiefs say the Government has now agreed in principle to the transfer but exactly when parking wardens will arrive in the district is still not yet known.

Final negotiations about how the scheme will be managed remain in the melting pot.

Council leaders have now enlisted the help of Weston-super-Mare MP John Penrose to put pressure on Government transport chiefs to get the matter sorted.

It is hoped that the official launch of the authority taking over responsibility for parking enforcement will take place some time in the New Year.

North Somerset Council executive member for highways Councillor Elfan Ap Rees said: "We are still discussing with the DfT when we can start taking responsibility for parking enforcement.

"We have agreed agreement in principle now but we cannot start until we get official notification. At the moment it is a case of dotting the I's and crossing the t's.

"We have asked our MP John Penrose to intervene and see if he can try and push things forward."

The changes will see council officers patrolling the streets to enforce existing regulations, such as double yellow lines and time limited parking bays.

Council employees which currently monitor the council's pay and display car parks will take on the work, although a small number of additional staff will be recruited.

The costs will be funded by money generated from fines which are handed out. It is hoped that parking restrictions will be enforced will encourage motorists to use the pay and display car parks across the district.

And although parking meters have been installed in Weston-super-Mare town centre to crackdown on all day parkers, there are no current plans to roll these out to other areas of the district.

Mr Ap Rees said the authority was ready to take on responsibility for parking as soon as permission was granted.

He added: "We have been preparing to take over the parking enforcement and training staff and have recruited additional staff. We are ready to go as soon as we get matters finalised."

The idea of the new regime is to stop people who consistently flout the regulations and act as a deterrent for inconsiderate parking.

Shopkeepers have long been pressing for action to be taken and say illegal parkers take up space for shoppers, affecting trade.

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