Councillor on Medway Council: The Issues

Parking and Dumped Vehicles

John Ward

Since the de-criminalisation of formerly-illegal parking, it has been the Council's responsibility to deal with this big issue; and a ward-by-ward parking review programme was begun. Horsted is a low-priority ward (29th in the list) so this shouldn't impact us directly for some time. Indeed, it is almost certain that the new ward boundaries will be established before then, though I suspect that as the reviews to date have been done within present boundaries the rest will have to be done the same way to avoid overlaps or omissions.

It is unfortunate that the other political groups have to date seen fit to opt for hugely-unpopular Pay and Display schemes, and by voting together have imposed these in the wards so far fully reviewed. This method is just a kind of tax by the back door, and will result in tradesmen and visitors having to pay for a permit. It might thus become difficult for Medway residents to have any work donw at home, as trades people will not wish to serve Medway homes. This is what has happened elsewhere when such schemes have been introduced.

Additionally, experience elsewhere and common sense both show that completed reviews in neighbouring wards can have a noticeable effect, as the various Pay and Display schemes appear and encourage motorists to park just outside those areas.

Because of all this, Medway Action on Parking was set up.

Apart from legitimate parking, there is the ongoing problem of dumped vehicles, often without tax. Last year's Operation Cubit and Operation Minnesota showed just what can be done when all the involved agencies work together to tackle this issue. These groundbreaking (and ground-freeing!) exercises achieved very good results.

The more recent Minnesota secured the removal of 148 vehicles of which many turned out to have been involved in criminal activities, and our operation caused severe disruption to those activities. Additionally 101 vehicles were reported to have no tax and DVLA action is being taken against their owners.

This operation continued during 2002, and is now continuing indefinitely. The teams will strike without warning, and will pursue owners of dumped vehicles.

At all times your ward Councillors are keeping their eyes peeled for abandoned vehicles, and have reported a number of them that we have spotted, as well as those advised to us (we first check these out personally and gather any necessary extra details).