Council admits it has ‘no plans’ to enforce Swaffham parking time limits

The Buttercross in Swaffham. ENGANL00120140402155632
The Buttercross in Swaffham. ENGANL00120140402155632
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Parking time limits will not be enforced in the centre of Swaffham despite growing calls for the current rules to be reviewed, district council chiefs admitted yesterday.

Drivers are only permitted to park for a maximum of two hours in several of the town’s car parks, including the one in the Market Place.

But, in recent weeks, critics have claimed that many drivers are avoiding sanctions for parking in the square all day, even though the nearby Theatre Street car park already offers that service, as the regulation was not being properly enforced.

The problem has also led to some calls for charges to be introduced in the Market Place for drivers who wish to stay there for longer.

But a spokesman for Breckland district council, the body responsible for enforcing the rules, told the Lynn News yesterday: “The Council’s policy is not to charge for car parking, and there are currently no plans to enforce time limits.”

The admission came after a senior West Norfolk Council official was accused of showing a “shoddy disregard” for concerns about the town’s parking rules.

Officers employed by the borough are partly responsible for enforcing parking regulations, even though other authorities set them.

And town council representatives met borough business development manager Martin Chisholm to discuss the issue last month.

But, reporting on those talks to Wednesday’s town council meeting, clerk Richard Bishop admitted the meeting “wasn’t that productive.”

He said Mr Chisholm had advised that any proposal to change the existing rules would require consultation with both the Breckland district and Norfolk County Councils.

But councillor Terry Jennison said that response was a “poor show.”

She said: “He is responsible. He’s got to be made responsible.

“I think he’s shown a shoddy disregard for the people who work there.”

But a borough spokesman said yesterday: “We are contracted to enforce the on-street parking only, for which Norfolk County Council determine where the lines are.”

She suggested the town council would need to resolve wider parking issues with Breckland itself, while the district authority would have to make its own arrangements on off-street parking rules, and liaise with the county council if on-street parking restrictions were to be changed.

In June, town councillors discussed the ideas of employing their own parking attendant and introducing parking charges to the Market Place for drivers wanting to stay beyond the free two-hour period.

But business leaders said they were confident town centre traders would not support the idea.

Meanwhile, Breckland Council has announced that Swaffham’s Pit Lane car park would be closed to drivers for around a week from Tuesday September 1 for repair work to take place.

The site is one of five across the district where resurfacing, line painting and pothole repairs will be undertaken by the end of October.