Southend Council in crackdown on pavement parking

A crack team will work 14 hours a day in Southend handing out fines to poorly parked cars with mums “unable to push prams along pavements safely”.

Extra enforcement officers are being hired and will work from 8am to 10pm to cut down on drivers parking on grass verges and pavements.

It comes as figures revealed Southend Council lost £1million in parking revenue during the COVID pandemic, including £300,000 from fewer tickets being dished out.

Jill Allen-King, 81, secretary of the Southend branch of the National Federation of the Blind, has campaigned against pavement parking for more than three decades.

Mrs King, from Westcliff, “I started the Give Back our Pavements campaign back in 1978. I had a really bad fall in 2019 and now have a bad knee because of it. They still haven’t repaired that broken paving.

“Blocking a footpath has been illegal forever. There are bylaws but they’ve done nothing about it.

“They just ought to get on with it.

“Never mind employing all these extra people they should just stop talking about it and do it.”

The closure of seafront car parks along with a fall in pay-and-display parking during the stay at home guidance led to a further loss of £630,000.

Cllr Ron Woodley, leader of the council, said: “The extra enforcement officers won’t bring us extra revenue but the Government helps with lost revenue during lockdown.

“The idea of the extra officers is to make it more safe and to stop people parking on pavements.

“People should be able to wheel a pushchair along a pavement safely.

“Our enforcement officers will be out from 8am to 10pm to pick up on the inconsiderate parking taking place.”

The introduction of a parking pass allowing people to park for three hours for a monthly fee of £8.50 helped boost revenue as restrictions have lifted.

The Southend Pass has been used over 31,000 times in just over two months

As well as the £1million lost in parking revenue, the council is predicting a budget gap of £20.7million by the end of the 2025/26 financial year.

Despite this, the council insists it remains “financially resilient”  from the impact of COVID and the “range of local demand and spending pressure”. It also increased its reserves to almost £96million.

Christine Sexton

Local Democracy Reporter