Traffic wardens on Leicestershire's streets to be axed
The number of traffic wardens patrolling Leicestershire's streets is to be slashed by more than a third to save money.
The county council spends more money on sending officers out to hand out tickets to illegally-parked motorists than it gets back in fines.
Highways bosses say such losses are unsustainable, as the authority looks to save £82 million over the next four years, so it plans to reduce the number of enforcement officers from 29 to 19, saving £166,000 next year.
The move will see fewer patrols in the county's market towns and villages, though the council says it will focus its efforts on areas with known parking problems.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Our heavyweight cards have FREE UV silk coating, FREE next day delivery & VAT included. Choose from 1000's of pre-designed templates or upload your own artwork. Orders dispatched within 24hrs.
Terms: Visit our site for more products: Business Cards, Compliment Slips, Letterheads, Leaflets, Postcards, Posters & much more. All items are free next day delivery. www.myprint-247.co.uk
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Wednesday, May 22 2013
Some motorists fear fewer wardens could lead to a dangerous parking free-for-all as drivers flout the rules without fear of being punished.
Geoff Clarke, 47, from Birstall said: "There's no doubt people will stop anywhere if they think they won't get caught. They do it all the time in the village, on double yellow lines and corners, despite there being a big car park. It isn't safe.
"How can it not get worse if you take away traffic wardens?"
Alison Kelly, 40, from Glenfield, said: "Nobody likes traffic wardens, but they do a job. People will soon get angry if they are stuck in traffic caused by bad parking."
From April, 2011, to the end of March this year, it cost County Hall nearly £1.1 million to issue and process 25,202 penalties.
The fines generated £808,000 and, with £84,000 collected in parking permits, it meant the operation ran at a loss of more than £200,000.
It could still run at a loss even with the proposed savings.
Councillor Lesley Pendleton, County Hall's transport spokeswoman, said: "People think we make massive sums of money from parking fines, but we don't. We actually make quite a significant loss and, in the current climate, the intention was that the service should at least break even.
"We will have fewer people overall, but they will patrol the areas with the greatest problems because we can't have people parking where they shouldn't for highways safety reasons."
Coun Pendleton said it was expected two wardens would be made redundant and the remaining eight would not be replaced when they left.
The changes affect wardens charged with on-street parking enforcement, not those who patrol car parks owned by district and borough councils.
In Leicester, parking enforcement runs at a surplus and council bosses say any profits are ploughed back into improving the city's transport network.
Last year, the city council collected £2.7 million in parking fines from 42,274 penalties issued to drivers illegally parked in the street and on car parks.