aberystwyth lifts traffic warden ban in time for jubilee after free for all chaos

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  • The parking free-for-all in the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth has caused chaos and even punch-ups between angry drivers
  • Study found 30 per cent of town's traffic were drivers looking for a space
  • Seven parking wardens will start ticketing again on bank holiday Monday

By Jill Reilly

PUBLISHED: 07:07 EST, 31 May 2012 | UPDATED: 10:40 EST, 31 May 2012

Traffic wardens are often greeted with dismay, but many motorists in one Welsh seaside town will be pleased to welcome them back after a year of parking chaos.

Since they left the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth, residents have told of punch-ups over sought-after spaces, businesses unable to find room to take deliveries, and fears that ambulances and fire engines would be caught in the parking gridlock.

With many pleading for someone to resume the practice of slapping tickets on illegally-parked vehicles, council bosses have ordered a seven-strong Civil Parking Enforcement Team to start ticketing again on bank holiday Monday.

Street chaos

Street chaos: Since the traffic wardens left the Welsh coastal town of Aberystwyth, residents have told of punch-ups over sought-after spaces, businesses unable to find room to take deliveries, and fears that ambulances and fire engines would be caught in the illegal parking gridlock

Back on the streets: After 12 months without traffic wardens, they will start ticketing again on bank holiday Monday in the town of Aberystwyth

Back on the streets: After 12 months without traffic wardens, they will start ticketing again on bank holiday Monday in the town of Aberystwyth

The town hit the headlines in June 2011 when it laid off its last remaining traffic wardens.

Unlike most of the rest of the UK, Aberystwyth had kept the old-fashioned system of traffic wardens employed by the police force.

But the three employees covering the town and the rest of Ceredigion county were laid off due to budget cuts, before the council had started to draw up plans for its own attendants.

Pavement parking

Pavement parking: The local newspaper, Cambrian News, has run a regular Street of Shame feature, picturing some of the worst-offending cars, complete with unobscured number plates

LAST PARKING TICKET WAS HANDED OUT OVER A YEAR AGO

Unlike most of the rest of the UK, Aberystwyth had kept the old-fashioned system of traffic wardens employed by the police force.

Last hurrah: Traffic Warden Juliet hands out her last parking ticket to Darren Huxtable on her final day

Final: Traffic Warden Juliet hands out her last parking ticket to Darren Huxtable in May 2011

But the three employees covering the town and the rest of Ceredigion county were laid off at the end of May 2011 due to budget cuts, before the council started to draw up plans for its own attendants.

Aberystwyth’s last parking ticket was given to pub landlord Darren Huxtable, who was caught using a disabled space on May 31.

In a surreal scene, he clutched his penalty notice and posed for a smiling photograph with now-redundant warden Juliet Morgan.

Car park operator NCP said it was the worst place in the country to find a parking space and a 2006 study found 30 per cent of its traffic were drivers looking for a space.

The local newspaper, Cambrian News, has run a regular Street of Shame feature, picturing some of the worst-offending cars, complete with unobscured number plates.

The residents outrage grew when it emerged that some of the offending drivers were police officers.

Drivers have been able to park where they like provided that nobody complained that they were causing an obstruction.

Some motorists have been parking on double yellow lines, single yellows, on street corners, on zig-zag lines, on pavements and in disabled bays without fear of recriminations.

Cyril Baker, who owns a jewellery store in the town, said: ‘It’s making life difficult for businesses, it’s bad for road safety, and the fear is it could delay an ambulance or a fire engine.’

The council has already warned motorists that they now face a greater risk of being penalised if they break parking restrictions.

But with the new enforcement system coming into force on a bank holiday, there is bound to be a flood of penalty notices with motorists becoming used to ignoring restrictions.

A council spokesperson said the new Civil Parking Enforcement Team will be working seven days a week including evenings and bank holidays.

The spokesperson said: 'The main aims of the Civil Enforcement Officers, who have been trained in accordance with Welsh Government standards, are to maintain the free flow of traffic and encourage compliance with parking restrictions.

'All CEOs will carry identification, wear recognisable uniform, and be issued with the appropriate equipment to carry out their duties, in accordance with statutory guidelines.

Under scrutiny: Drivers have been able to park where they like provided that nobody complained that they were causing an obstruction

Under scrutiny: Drivers have been able to park where they like provided that nobody complained that they were causing an obstruction

Watchful eye: A council spokesperson said the new Civil Parking Enforcement Team will be working seven days a week including evenings and bank holidays

Watchful eye: A council spokesperson said the new Civil Parking Enforcement Team will be working seven days a week including evenings and bank holidays

Free-for-all: Some motorists been parking on double yellow lines, single yellows, on street corners, on zig-zag lines, on pavements and in disabled bays without fear of recriminations

Free-for-all: Some motorists been parking on double yellow lines, single yellows, on street corners, on zig-zag lines, on pavements and in disabled bays without fear of recriminations

'The CEOs will issue Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to vehicles parked in contravention of parking restrictions on the street and off street in council car parks.

'These contraventions can include, but are not limited to; parking on yellow lines, overstaying time limits on parking bays, parking on pedestrian crossing zigzag markings, parking across drop kerbs and parking more than 50cm from the edge of the kerb.'

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