The authority’s cabinet will meet next week to sign off its response to the Department for Transport (DfT) consultation which could see a London-style total ban on pavement parking rolled out across England.
The draft response which members are asked to agree on says the council supports the idea of traffic wardens being given authority to ticket cars for obstructing pavements, which can currently only be dealt with by way of a police-issued fixed penalty notice.
The report, by Steve Brown, the council’s head of highways and environment, says a change in the law is needed to put an end to the problem, but does not go as far as to support a complete nationwide ban.
It says the second of the DfT’s three options would best address the issue. Option one is that ongoing improvements to traffic regulation orders are sufficient, while option three is a complete ban.
Option two, which cabinet members are urged to support, is: “Legislative change to allow local authorities with civil parking enforcement (CPE) powers to enforce against ‘unnecessary obstruction of the pavement’.”
This would not however remove enforcement powers from the police, who would still be responsible for dealing with the most serious incidents.
The report adds that clear guidance would be required from government to help define an “unnecessary obstruction”.
It says: “Without such clarity the council could potentially become the arbiter between those understandably wanting clear pavements for accessibility and those who live in narrow streets who have no choice than to park on the footway near their homes or to receive deliveries and still allow the free flow of traffic on a case by case basis potentially leading to a further lack of clarity.
“Therefore, whilst redefining responsibilities for enforcement could be welcomed in offering a joined-up approach to the end-user, necessary guidance providing clarification on definitions and enforcement protocols should be included within any new powers transferred to the local authority so that everyone can be clear on what constitutes a contravention.
“It is recommended that a request for such guidance is included within our response to the consultation if this option were to be selected by government.”
The report says a complete ban, except in areas specifically designated by the council for pavement parking, would “present several issues in respect of visual impact, impact upon our town’s local economies and potential maintenance issues”.
Shropshire Council has received 15 complaints from members of the public about pavement parking in the last two years, and the report adds: “It is safe to assume that there are potentially many unreported concerns or comments relating to this issue.”
Cabinet members will discuss the report and agree the council’s response to the consultation at a meeting on Monday.