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Councillors back extending rules on resident parking spaces

General view of parking restrictions sign in Caerphilly (Pic: Google)

COUNCILLORS have backed changes to parking policies across Caerphilly County Borough aimed at supporting holders of resident permits.

A group of councillors consulted with hundreds of residents, of whom 71% said the current policy did not suit their needs.

Currently, the maximum hours for resident permit-only parking spaces is from 8am to 6pm, Monday to Saturday, but now the council plans to extend that to 8pm.

Scrutiny officer Mark Jacques told the council’s housing committee on Tuesday April 30 many people with permits felt the current system wasn’t working well enough.

Residents who have paid for a permit expect a parking space “to be available at all times”, he said.

The councillors behind the extension plan hope it will make more spaces available to permit holders in the evenings, such as when commuters are returning from work and expect to park outside their own homes.

But Dean Smith, principal engineer for traffic management, warned previously an extension could spread the council’s parking enforcement team “more thinly”.

Committee member Shane Williams sought assurances the longer hours could be “effectively enforced”.

Ystrad Mynach councillor Martyn James added that the “biggest problem where I live… is the parking within the town centre”.

“I haven’t seen an enforcement officer for at least a fortnight,” he said.

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Mr Smith said the council’s parking wardens focused their attention on town centres when those areas are “at their busiest”, as well as around schools.

The team comprises eight full-time equivalent staff, he added.

Cllr Williams noted some other local authorities use cars mounted with cameras to monitor parking and catch people breaking the rules.

“Is a camera car something we are likely to consider?” he asked.

Mr Smith said the scheme was “something we are looking into currently” but said the cars are “generally only used to enforce where drivers are [not allowed] to stop”.

Typically, this includes people who park or stop their vehicles in bus stops, in areas marked “keep clear”, and where there are zig-zag markings, Mr Smith explained.

Caerphilly Council has also launched a crackdown on abuse of blue badges, he added.

Officers had found “a number of” drivers in the past week who had “misused” their badges or were trying to use badges that were out of date, he said.

The committee voted unanimously to back the extension to the residents’ parking policy, and the proposal will now go before Caerphilly Council’s cabinet.