Isle town’s war with wardens

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A barrage of calls from angry traders in Epworth has spurred an Isle MP to action.

A review of parking enforcement in town is to take place, after shopkeepers claimed trade is suffering due to a high presence of traffic wardens.

Isle MP Andrew Percy met with ward councillors Liz Redfern and David Robinson to discuss the issue, and decided on a full review.

Mr Percy said: “Traders tell me they believe traffic wardens are being opportunistic in issuing tickets throughout the town.

“We clearly need to find a balance between appropriate enforcement and fairness to visitors and traders. We have campaigned hard to enhance the parking provision in Epworth and it is important that we listen to traders about their concerns.”

Coun Liz Redfern added: “As leader of the Council, I have taken very seriously the comments traders have made to Andrew. The last thing we want is for visitors to be discouraged from visiting Epworth.

“I have triggered an urgent review of Parking Enforcement and we will be looking closely at the circumstances behind how and when parking tickets should be issued.”

The thorny issue evolved after shopkeepers grouped together to complain about the high incidence of traffic wardens patrolling Epworth town centre throughout the week.

A letter of protest from Michail Harm of NE1 Clothing, Epworth, was discussed at Epworth Town Council, and was, said Chairman Don Stewart, typical of views expressed to him by others in the town.

But he said: “In the 1990’s I had a shop in Epworth, and there was free parking, but this was taken up by business people and that drove trade away too. However, I do agree with a lot of the sentiment expressed in the letter.”

Coun Graham Wilson asked: “Does Mr Harm want free parking with congestion because people then park all day, or the current alternative of two hours or one hour? If there are time limits then traffic wardens are there to enforce it.”

The town council heard that tickets are mostly issued for parking over a disabled area. Coun Roz Whittaker said: “It seems we are beggared if we do limit time and we are beggared if we don’t. Two hours is enough for the vast majority of people to conduct their business.”

The conduct of wardens was also questioned by Mr Harm. Coun Liz Redfern said that any enforcement officer who is not respectful to people should be reported.

Anyone with complaints about parking restrictions should contact the Council’s highways team on 01724 297000.