Phil Carver presented the report that set out proposals for the Council to commence the use of vehicle removal in the Council’s parking enforcement approach in specific incidents. The report sought the approval for the Parking Team to remove vehicles parked in contravention with priority removals to those classed as persistent evaders or if a vehicle was parked in a manner that was obstructive or dangerous to other road users, in line with legislative powers and best practice.
Councillor Redsell thanked Officers for the good report and asked where the specific areas were in Grays that the report referred to. Phil Carver provided Members with a brief list of roads in Grays and stated a more definitive list could be made available to Councillor Redsell if she so wished to see it.
Councillor Redsell commented that residents were more likely to ignore a PCNs but would pay to have their lifted vehicle returned.
Councillor Thandi questioned whether automatic numberplate recognition was used in Thurrock and asked what the process was for those vehicles where residents stated they were not the registered keeper. Phil Carver stated that automatic numberplate recognition was not currently used in Thurrock but was currently being looked into for vehicles illegally parking outside of schools. There was a statutory process for parking where the DVLA would be contacted to get the registered keeper details and that persistent evaders knew that if they did not register their vehicle with the DVLA the result would come back as unregistered keeper. This would be pursued and DVLA would be contacted again. Councillor Thandi questioned why details of taxed vehicles were not known as this information would be held by the DVLA to which Phil Carver stated this was the information being supplied by DVLA. David Kleinberg stated there were 1000s of vehicles on roads that had not been taxed, had no registered keeper, no MOT or with no insurance and it was those vehicles that were impacting on the space in Thurrock.
Councillor Pothecary thanked Officers for the report and welcomed the new measures and continued to ask for clarification on whether paragraph 3.5 (a) and (d) would both be aimed at persistent evaders. Phil Carver confirmed that it applied to all on that list, from (a) to (d), a PCN would be issued and then the removal of the vehicle. It would be the priority to remove those vehicles of persistent evaders.
Councillor Rigby questioned the number of times a PCN was given before the vehicle would be removed. Phil Carver stated it would be three or more outstanding PCNs.
Councillor Pearce questioned those vehicles being issued with PCNs were new or old cars to which Phil Carver stated it was a mixture of both. Councillor Pearce questioned whether Thurrock Council could keep those cars and sell them. Phil Carver stated that if the vehicle’s value was more than £1500.00 it would go to auction and Thurrock Council would receive that money back. This was controlled by the Vehicle Removal Contract.
Councillor Liddiard questioned whether removing old vehicles the Council was being charged more than the vehicle was worth. Phil Carver stated those vehicles would go for scrap and Thurrock Council would receive any monies back.
Councillor Pothecary questioned paragraph 3.5 (a) whether this would include paths to which Phil Carver stated that it would.
Councillor Pothecary questioned the order of (a) to (d) of paragraph 3.5 and stated that “(d) non permitted vehicles parked in a disabled bay” should be moved up the list as this could affect the quality of life for a disabled person. Phil Carver agreed this was a good point and could move up the list but reiterated that all five areas would have the same priority and would be dealt with in the same way.
Councillor Liddiard questioned when would the new measures come into effect and questioned whether warning letters would be issued prior to vehicles being removed. Phil Carver stated that work still needed to be undertaken before this came into effect such as liaising with services to ensure the appropriate publicity was undertaken to make residents aware and working with the transport development teams to ensure signage was in place.
Councillor Redsell thanked Officers again for the good report and would like to see a Briefing Note updating the committee on progress in a few months’ time.
That Cleaner, Greener and Safer Overview and Scrutiny Committee are requested to:
1. Recommend to Cabinet to approve Thurrock Council’s Parking Team to execute enforcement action against vehicles parked in contravention with priority vehicle removal of persistent evaders as suggested by the Department for Transport within its statutory guidance.
2. Recommend to Cabinet to adopt the policy to remove vehicles which are parked in contravention of restrictions where a PCN may be issued if the vehicle is also parked in a manner that is obstructive or dangerous to other road users.