Proposed Changes to Resident's Parking Scheme: More Money for Less Service

By Mick Scrimshaw on December 6, 2014

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Joint statement from Cllr. Mick Scrimshaw (Northants County Council) & Cllr. Keli Watts (Kettering Borough Council)

Currently Kettering Borough Council does an excellent job enforcing parking schemes where residents have chosen to have them. These are mainly areas close to the town centre or places that suffer from high levels of parking from people other than residents.

These areas are patrolled by Kettering Council’s own wardens who work seven days a week including evenings and do a very good job at enforcing the restrictions. As council employees they are also able to tackle other tasks such as enforcing dog mess rules and reporting other problems they notice, including being able to directly contact the police.

Kettering is actually the only area in the whole of Northamptonshire where these types of schemes are controlled by the local council. Everywhere else in the County it is dealt with by the County Council who simply pay a private contractor to do the job for them.

Currently there are proposals to move over all the Kettering schemes to the County Council and if this happens there will be changes both in the cost to residents, and to the way the service is carried out. Firstly the wardens working for the private company will only deal with traffic enforcement and have no training or powers to do anything else. They will also be operating from their base in Northampton and because of the traveling time there and back cannot possibly be as efficient and offer as good a service.

There will also be changes in prices. An annual parking permit will be £60 (currently £45) for the first one and £80 for the second (currently £45) and day tickets for visitors will be 75p (currently 25p) and business permits will be £360 (currently £45).

The high prices and lower levels of service is another example of the County Council privatising its services, regardless of whether or not it will give a better deal for residents. Given the large number of schemes they manage and the economies of scale this gives them, you would expect the County run schemes would be cheaper, not more expensive!

Most people agree that Kettering Borough Council have done an excellent job in enforcing these schemes, to the extent that some areas that had previously said no to schemes have now changed their minds and are asking for a scheme to be put in.

Your local Labour Borough and County Councillors will be fighting to ensure that the management of these schemes remains with Kettering Borough Council simply because they provide a better service for less money!

Mick Scrimshaw is the Leader of the Labour Group at Kettering Borough Council, the Shadow Cabinet Member for Finance at Northamptonshire County Council. He has a public record of standing up for Kettering as a County Councillor for the Northall division in Kettering, Northants and since May 2015, a Borough Councillor for the William Knibb ward. He is a keen cyclist and also runs a family business with his wife.

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