Murky Depths

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Greenwich borough

Number of parking fines issued doubles in Greenwich borough

Cars double parked in Eltham

The number of parking fines issued across Greenwich borough has more than doubled since 10 new members of staff were hired earlier this year.

After numerous complaints of dangerous parking including 100+ London bus drivers threatening to cease stopping at bus stops in certain areas, the authority hired 10 new members of staff taking the total up to 32 employees.

Plumstead station parking

In December 2018 they issued 3,112 tickets. By April 2019 this had increased to 6,133. The previous April saw 2,586 tickets.

Before hiring additional staff, the borough were 31st out of 32 for issuing tickets across London boroughs. Complaints poured in that many places had become a free-for-all with poor parking blocking bus lanes, kerbs and paving parking commonly seen.

Despite a decade which saw high levels of new house-building, increased parking zones and other changes including new shops, Greenwich saw reduced staff levels from 2010 to 2017:

Alongside this a budget hole of at least £12 million has opened up. The below screenshot from a council report is a common site year after year:

Interestingly just 10 more has seen tickets more than double compared to the year before suggesting new staff are issuing more tickets per employee.

What’s interesting is that despite this being known for years, no action was taken until pressure became extremely strong. Without public pressure would the budget gap have continued to increase? A “parking strategy” adopted around 2015 had little impact but no action taken.

At a time of central Government cuts it was odd the authority didn’t adapt given parking enforcement is at worst cost-neutral, and usually generates income to be spent improving areas of the borough.

Better streets coming?

Where additional funds will be spent remains to be seen. Currently much income helps to fund concessionary passes for the elderly and other groups. As this site has covered before, Greenwich Council is almost unique in not allocating parking income to improving streets under the Local Implementation Plan. Many authorities use income for concessionary passes and street upgrades.

Will Greenwich Council now follow?

Due to a lack of parking income Greenwich Council have been using general funds to plug the budget gap. Those funds could now be allocated to healthcare, housing, education and more.

It should be noted these are only fines issued by Greenwich’s Parking Department. Many areas of the borough including estates and certain shopping parades have seen parking outsourced to a private company named Wing Security. That contract was renewed in summer 2018 and sees no income from fines heading towards the council.

Abbey Wood estate – outsourced contract with private country to enforce this area

Wing Security have also come in for heavy criticism regarding poor enforcement. Certain areas – such as the 3,000 home Abbey Wood estate – are notorious for dangerous and obstructive parking.

Not uncommon

Despite numerous complaints from residents little ever seems to change – and renewing the contract doesn’t bode well.

But on the other hand things have changed in other areas. The question now is whether staff focus on areas which cause congestion or go for easy targets. Despite increased staffing and tickets, daily reports still come in of chronic problems persisting in the same old areas. More staff still needed?

 

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8 Comments

  1. Charles Calthrop

    Excellent news. I’m sure GLLaB will welcome the additional revenue…

  2. Mike S

    Surplus money raised from fines is ringfenced to local transport projects. Enforcement almost always makes money.

    It would be very interesting to know whether Wing Security is cost effective, compared to their own enforcers….

  3. Ashley

    About time too, unfortunately still not good enough. More needs to be done. More revenue could be brought in if stringent patrols where done more rigorous and the cancellation of Wing Parkings contract as no revenue made for the borough through this contract.

  4. Jodi

    I’m here to support

  5. Alan Smith

    Many of the road markings at parking bays in the borough of Greenwich do not conform to the TSRGD 2002 .
    Many people have been issued with a PCN (parking fine) illegally.
    The law has recently been changed to suit Greenwich councils illegal road markings.
    Many people have been fined illegally.

    • Charles Calthrop

      The road markings and signage do need significant clarification, as many drivers are apparently unable to determine safe places to park. Yesterday I watched as a driver parked up outside the little bus lane at the bottom of Batley Park and managed to lock in the 202 and the 108 I was on. Its an awkward junction at best and that’s just the first one that comes to mind. Plumstead is a law unto itself and the Westcombe Hill/A102 cut-through has seen a fair few misses with the disjointed markings prevalent to the area.

      A good start, long overdue. If all they do is clamp down on poor or dangerous parking that will be fine. If the revenue is spent on something of value to the Borough that’s a bonus.

  6. Disappointed

    They could use the extra revenue on the HILLS project (prior post). The extra funds could go towards the renovation of the entire street including paving and pedestrian ways as opposed to just the tarmac.
    This is just an idea, at least the electorate will have visible evidence that the money is being put to good use.
    However, based on historic performance I suspect some council worker will spend an ample amount of time coming up with excuses as to why the above cannot be done.

    For anyone in the council reading this………….THIS IS WHAT WE CALL JOINED UP THINKING AND USING THE LIMITED FUNDS EFFECTIVELY……..you should try it sometime. I promise it won’t hurt. You might even convince the electorate that you are doing your job.

  7. CDT

    Firstly I must say I do actually feel for the parking enforcement staff who take a lot of abuse going about their jobs which is also not acceptable. As they are only trying to earn a living for themselves.

    This is an improvement for the Borough of Greenwich and revenue collected can be used to fund other projects. As we aim to make our roads and pavements safer for all. I have seen people in wheelchairs and with small children in buggies having to go in the road to pass illegally parked cars blocking the pavement, This is not acceptable and we have to put safety first. I am a driver by the way.

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