12:00PM, Thursday 22 September 2016
The Royal Borough has denied it is trying to privatise parking enforcement ‘by the back door’.
Since last month, a pilot scheme has been running which has seen four parking enforcement officers from a private firm join council staff patrolling Maidenhead to monitor on-street parking.
However, despite the fact the six-month trial has been in place for more than a month, no official announcement was made by the council about it starting.
And the new officers have also been wearing the same uniforms as existing staff, meaning there is no outward differentiation between them and existing officials.
Responding to concerns about the way it had been handled, Cllr Carwyn Cox, cabinet member for environment and parking, said he considered it to be purely a fact finding mission and did not require a formal announcement.
“It’s a pilot and we want to see how it would run alongside our current officers,” he said when quizzed about the scheme.
“As I’ve said to several colleagues, no final step has been made yet and I’m using this as part of the evidence gathering process.
“I have no firm views on what we should do, I’m saying let’s get evidence.”
He added: “Once we’re in a position to make recommendations to cabinet it will all be in the public domain.
“This is not some-thing being done by the back door.”
The scheme is being undertaken by London-based NSL Limited, which, according to its website, was part of National Car Parks (NCP) until 2007.
Plans to outsource and merge community wardens and parking enforcement are also being considered by the Royal Borough as the council looks to save £5.6million from the budget for 2017/18.
At a meeting of the Highways, Transport and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Panel on Monday, Cllr Malcolm Beer (Old Windsor Residents Association, Old Windsor), expressed concern that requiring community wardens to take on responsibilities for parking could render them ‘public enemy number one’.
Responding to this, Cllr Cox said he was aware of concerns, but stressed that no decisions had been made.
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