Lilian Greenwood MP, the chairman of the transport committee, joined colleagues on Thursday (June 27) to hear from residents and explore solutions to help local government take action.
Asked by roads minister Michael Ellis MP about last week’s visit, Mrs Greenwood said: “What we saw in Bexhill were parking problems where the only powers to enforce belonged to the police. People had a complete disregard for the rules because they knew there would be no penalty.
“It’s the Wild West of parking.”
Mrs Greenwood described what had been seen during the committee’s one hour walk around the town and asked Mr Ellis what his department was doing to bring a solution and whether he would force the powers on the local council if nothing was done.
Mr Ellis said his team was working with county council representatives and he ‘would act as quickly as possible with the Civil Parking Enforcement application and hoped to visit Bexhill once the change has been delivered’.
Mrs Greenwood said this would be ‘reassuring news for the residents of Bexhill’.
Bexhill and Battle MP Huw Merriman, a member of the transport committee, asked for confirmation that the changes to parking enforcement would be given the Parliamentary time which is necessary for it to be delivered.
The MP said a similar application from Suffolk County Council was delayed due to Brexit-related work taking priority in the department and in Parliament.
The Roads Minister confirmed that switching to Civil Parking Enforcement would be ‘relatively straight-forward’, that the delays were now not an issue and ‘nothing should hold up this application from being approved in Parliament’.
Speaking after the visit, Mr Merriman added: “I am grateful that my fellow committee members took me up on the offer to show them a town where parking disorder sadly exists.
“This visit has inspired us to press for change.
“We will write our report and recommendations to Government and we received a commitment from the roads Minister that he would use our report when looking how to fix the issue of pavement parking. From bringing the wider parking issues to the attention of those who can fix it, I trust that our local councils will deliver their application to take over parking powers from the police, that the Department for Transport will quickly process through Parliament and we will soon be welcoming parking enforcement officers to help us with safer and busier high streets across Rother.”