Following representations by Priory and St Leonard’s Labour county councillor Jill Owen, it has now been confirmed that parking on verges and pavements in Exeter is a civil parking offence. Motorists who do this will now face a fixed-penalty notice. This will be welcomed by pedestrians, particularly disabled people and parents with prams or buggies, who have complained about being forced to walk on the road to get round vehicles on the pavement.
Until the end of January, this was a matter which could only be dealt with by the police, whereas responsibility for other parking offences had passed to the County Council. This only led to confusion and inaction. Now civil enforcement officers (‘traffic wardens’ to most people) will be able to deal with motorists who choose to park on the pavement.
On a separate issue, thanks to Jill Owen and her Labour colleague Richard Westlake, the County Council is having to re-think its bodged introduction of dispensation parking permits for tradespeople in Exeter. Without consulting county councillors or warning the public, the County Council introduced a new scheme requiring trades-people to apply at least 24 hours in advance for a permit to park in residents’ only zones, which has caused anger and confusion in many parts of Exeter. Under the previous arrangement, tradespeople were only required to display a note saying which address they were visiting.
The leader of Devon County Council has admitted that the implementation of the scheme could have been handled better, so the Council is now looking at ways of improving the scheme.