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Drawing new battle to curb parking.

Enforcement of illegal roadside parking in Stockton is being transferred from police to the council - which could rake in pounds 600,000 a year from the switch.

The cash will be spent on local transport instead of going into Government coffers.

The transfer was granted by Transport Minister Derek Twigg, and means parking violations in Stockton Borough will no longer be criminal offences.

From September 5, council-employed parking attendants will enforce on-street parking controls. A computer system will control the issue of penalty notices and parking permits.

Penalty charges and discount periods for on and off-street parking have been harmonised. A pounds 60 penalty is discounted to pounds 30 if paid within 14 days.

A council spokesman said: "Although the scheme is eventually intended to be self-financing, there are considerable start-up costs. We expect to spend pounds 892,000 in the first year, against which we expect to receive pounds 660,000 from parking charges and fines.

"We don't expect to cover our costs for four years, after which there may be a modest surplus to put back into local transport improvements."

Councillor Bob Cook, Stockton Cabinet member for development and regeneration, said: "Parking controls on our streets are there to help traffic flow smoothly and to improve road safety.

"We are taking this matter seriously and providing appropriate levels of patrolling so that people will respect yellow lines. It's fair to say that recent enforcement has not been a priority for the police."

A Parking Shop at Gloucester House, in Stockton's Church Road, will accept payments of fines.
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Publication:Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)
Date:Aug 20, 2005
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