In last weeks Herald, there was a short article about South Oxfordshire Council giving its backing to new plans for civil parking enforcement.
This means that all the three remaining districts (Cherwell, Vale of the White Horse and South Oxfordshire) have now agreed to the scheme so once this has been approved by the Government, we will no longer rely on the Police to handle parking issues in Wantage.
A major part of the preparation for taking over enforcement is ensuring that all signs and lines associated with parking restrictions are accurate, enforceable and comply with current Traffic Regulations.
This is to ensure that parking tickets can be enforced.
So expect to see lots of repainting of signs and lines over the next few months.
The County Council is proposing that the company which currently provides parking enforcement in Oxford City will extend its area to cover all three districts.
To pay for this they also intend to introduce on-street parking charges. Although this is initially only for Banbury, Bicester, Abingdon and Wallingford, we can see this spreading wider to include Wantage, Didcot and Faringdon in the future.
So what will this mean for us?
Parking on double and single yellow lines in Wantage Town Centre often creates problems with access to some parts of the town centre as delivery vans and lorries have to stop in the centre of the road to offload goods.
If traffic wardens enforce the current regulations then this problem goes away but leaves a greater issue of where people can park.
Much of the parking is people who live and/or work in the town centre and need somewhere to park.
Encouraging cycling and walking to work might work for some people but many of the homes in the centre do not have their own parking.
One of the policies in the Neighbourhood Plan requires proposals for change of use to dwellings or for new housing development in the area to demonstrate that they provide sufficient parking for residents, but the current planning policies at the County and District override this and do not require residents parking spaces for homes in the town centre. So this won’t help.
Many people who live close to the centre of town and near the shopping areas in Grove and Charlton already find that on-street parking in residential streets is becoming a problem and this will only get worse.
We expect to see residents parking permits soon.