Illegal parking chaos at Yarmouth taxi ranks

PARKING chaos has un-folded on a Great Yarmouth taxi rank as drivers have realised nobody will ticket cars if they park illegally in the evening.

Private cars fill the King Street rank on Friday and Saturday nights, preventing cabbies from doing their job and leading to double parking.

But police say they are powerless to do anything as on-street parking enforcement powers were passed to local authorities on November 7, 2011.

And the new Yarmouth civil enforcement officers clock off at teatime, leaving an evening free for all.

Paul Thompson, who works for Coastal Taxis, said: “We seem to be having a very big problem now the powers of the police have been revoked.

“It’s total chaos and there needs to be enforcement in the evening.”

Adrian Buck, an independent Yarmouth cabbie, said: “Ranks get clogged up with the general public and it’s not just a problem in King Street, but also the ranks by the Troll Cart and at the seafront.

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“It’s putting me and my family under pressure and I can’t afford to keep wasting diesel because people have parked in our rank.

Mr Buck said: “It’s costing us fares.”

Ian McHugh, of Coastal Taxis, added that parking enforcement should revert to police control when civil enforcement officers are not working.

“It just needs something done,” he said. “They can’t keep burying their head in the sand.”

Enforcement of on-street parking restrictions, including yellow lines and time-limited spaces, is now carried out by civil enforcement officers employed by councils.

They have the power to issue penalty charge notices - parking tickets - for parking infringements.But they are not on duty throughout the day.

Charles Reynolds, borough council cabinet member for parking, admitted the new system may have teething problems but said no major problems have been reported yet.

“We’ve had no complaints so far apart from too many taxis parking on ranks,” he said. We’ve had no other complaints, but if they do come in we will certainly look at the situation as resources allow.

“We’re in a settling in period and I’ve spoken to all councillors about it. There’s going to be a big improvement.”

He did not wish to discuss the times traffic wardens will be patrolling, as it would help people get away with illegal parking.

But said he said hours will be varied and extended before the summer season.

Norfolk police confirmed they are no longer responsible for on-street parkin and that enforcement is now carried out through the Norfolk Parking Partnership.

As far as parking goes, police only have the power to act on obstruction offences, where vehicles are parked on zig-zag approaches to pedestrian crossings and enforcement on trunk road clearways - including the A47 and the A12.

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Email letters to anne.edwards@archant.co.uk or write to Letters, the Mercury, 169 King Street, Great Yarmouth