Council awaits enforcement powers

A car parked on yellow lines in Murray Street, Montrose, draws police attention
A car parked on yellow lines in Murray Street, Montrose, draws police attention

Angus Council will be poised and ready to enforce parking regulations across the county as soon as the powers of enforcement are transferred by the Scottish Government.

This is currently going through the required legal process and while its conclusion may be some months off, the local authority is planning to have community wardens enforcing yellow lines and restrictions as soon as possible.

Under the scheme, already approved by councillors, drivers would be fined £60 if caught on double yellow lines, reduced to £30 for prompt payment.

And council bosses hope this will help to tackle the perceived ‘free for all’ on Angus streets since Police Scotland withdrew from enforcing parking offences.

Careless or illegal parking and lack of enforcement are also often raised routinely at community councils which express frustration at the current situation.

These problems also affect more than just town centres and a regular complaint concerns the congestion and potential dangers caused around the county’s schools, with parents collecting their children often disregarding road markings in a bid to get as close to the schools as possible.

Schools very often take action themselves, however, and at Kirriemuir Community Council’s last meeting that the area around Webster’s High had been the subject of a crackdown by local police, but that the school had also taken the step of issuing letters to all parents to highlight the problems.

These have included double parking and parking in a nearby bus stop, all of which has a knock-on effect to traffic in the area.

A number of parking tickets have been issued by police officers both at the school and around the town, although this has depended on the local force’s available resources. If an illegally parked car is occupied then a warning is issued in the first instance and the driver asked to move on, while unoccupied vehicles have been ticketed automatically.

Councillor Iain Gaul, elected member for Kirriemuir and council leader, said that the transfer of enforcement powers “can’t come quickly enough”.

He also said that while the situation can be annoying for drivers and pedestrians, the police have to prioritise and focus their resources where they are most needed.

Mr Gaul continued: “It’s not a life-threatening situation. The police have to respond to situations as they happen as well as responding to everyday issues, and they will always respond first to what’s happening at a particular time.

“The little that the police are doing is welcome and it does have a short-term effect, but what’s disappointing is that people who live in a beautiful part of the country are parking in the way that they are.”

He added that the situation of people parking “where they want to” has only arisen because drivers know there is little chance of action being taken.

Mr Gaul said: “We don’t have issues with parking in Angus, we have a problem with inconsiderate and thoughtless parking. We’d rather they thought about what their actions are doing to their neighbours and other road users, but that’s never going to happen - they want to park closest to whatever shop they’re going to and hell-mend everyone else. Bringing in wardens is part of our solution to that.

“When we get those powers from Transport Scotland we will enforce them, drivers will be issued with parking tickets and fined and we will pursue those if they’re not paid.

“We’ve done our bit, but in the greater scheme of things parking in Angus burghs is not hugely important and we now have to go through the civil service machine.

“Once we come out of the other end of it, we will see a difference”