More wardens will tackle illegal Kettering parking as council takes charge
More than a dozen new wardens will be on the streets of Kettering to get to grips with illegal parking.
From January 2020 Kettering Council will be responsible for parking enforcement in the borough rather than police, although the date they take charge could yet move.
For years Kettering has been the only district in Northamptonshire where on-street parking control has been the responsibility of police officers rather than council wardens and whilst Kettering will still be out of step with the six other districts - where parking is controlled by Northamptonshire County Council - it has finally been decriminalised.
Under the new powers Kettering Council will retain income from penalties and plan to employ more staff to enforce existing rules as well as tackling anti-social behaviour and environmental crime.
A total of 16 wardens will be employed on all warden duties, including tackling parking.
Cllr Mick Scrimshaw (Lab), who has long called for the decriminalisation of parking, said: "I think this is great news, it's absolutely wonderful.
"Kettering Council currently has one warden enforcing everything else whilst police deal with parking and clearly they have much more important things to be dealing with."
The council already controls parking in council-owned car parks and residential parking zones and this will now be extended to all streets in the borough.
It means most parking contraventions, including parking on yellow lines and in parking bays, are no longer a criminal offence.
Any income from the scheme will be used to fund the costs of enforcement and if there are any surplus funds then these will be used to improve local transport.
The council says the scheme will ease congestion caused by inconsiderate parking, improve road safety and make it easier for visitors and shoppers to park.
Cllr Scrimshaw added: "There are a number of issues, especially around people parking irresponsibly around schools.
"It's something people have been getting away with for many, many years. This is not about cracking down, it's about making sure everyone follows the rules."
The police will continue to be responsible for dealing with dangerously parked vehicles including where there are no parking restrictions in place such as on bends, brows of hills and junctions, and obstruction offences such as one-way traffic, white hatched areas and box junctions.
Kettering Council said they couldn't comment due to being under purdah ahead of next week's election but would release a statement the week after the nation goes to the polls.