Wirral wardens to target pavement parkers

THE COUNCIL's spy car is caught red-handed parked straddling a kerb - as it's announced any other Wirral motorist doing the same faces yet more restrictions.

The car - fitted with an 11ft extending periscopic camera - was spotted earlier this month by a Globe reader parked halfway up on the pavement near to Flaybrick Cemetery in Birkenhead.

This week it was revealed that the council is seeking to extend the areas targeted by traffic wardens issuing fines to people parking on pavements and grass verges.

A pilot scheme approved two years ago that concentrated on just six roads in the borough - Woodchurch Road in Prenton and Bayswater Road in Wallasey among them - will be extended to Townfield Lane and Storeton Road in Oxton, Frankby Road in Frankby, Greasby Road in Greasby, Leasowe Road in Leasowe and Pensby Road, Pensby.

It was also revealed this week that council's revenue projections for money raised from motoring penalty fines has "under-achieved" by £100,000.

Cllr Leah Fraser said: "The council is clearly not aware that most of the borough is in recession.

"Thousands of businesses are struggling to survive and many people are feeling the pinch yet, instead of recognising this, the council is seeking to come down even heavier on residents to make up for the shortfall of income from parking fines.

"A bit of common sense, particularly for people who are parking in their own roads and not causing an obstruction to others, wouldn't go amiss. Why should local residents make up any shortfall due to the council's mismanagement of it's finances?

A spokeswoman for Wirral Council said: "The camera car is covered by special dispensation, which allows the vehicle to park in certain areas in order to carry out its work safely. Wherever possible, we ask the contractor to park the enforcement vehicle in an area where parking is permitted.

"In this instance, it could have been parked more appropriately however, we also want to avoid taking up legitimate public parking spaces.

"As part of the budget setting process, the Director of Finance is required to project revenue. This includes money recovered from pay and display car parks as well as parking penalty notices.

"The council does not set targets for the number of parking tickets issued. It does not pay any incentives for issuing penalty charge notices to either the contractor or individuals and forbids the contractor from doing so.

"We pay for the number of parking enforcement officers and the number of hours for which they are deployed. If the enforcement officer wasn’t in the car working, he’d be working on foot.

"The council does not use parking enforcement to raise revenue and makes no money from parking enforcement activities. Any surplus funds following administration costs - for example enforcement costs, adjudication service costs, court costs, IT costs, staffing of appeals team, debt recovery - is put straight back into traffic or highway schemes as required by national legislation."