Annual Parking Report 2021/22
- Foreword by Councillor Claire Dowling, Lead Member for Transport and Environment
Our Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) schemes in East Sussex
There are Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) schemes in four of the five districts and boroughs in East Sussex. The first CPE scheme was introduced in Hastings borough in 1999, this was followed by Lewes district in 2004, Eastbourne borough in 2008 and Rother district in 2020.
Introducing CPE to Wealden district was considered at the same time as Rother district but this was not supported by the district council so did not go ahead. Enforcement of parking restrictions across Wealden district remains the responsibility of the Police.
Aims of our Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) schemes
One of the biggest changes that occurs when adopting CPE is the transfer of responsibility for parking enforcement from the Police to the local authority. Not only does this allow us to enforce parking restrictions, it enables the authority to improve access to parking for residents, businesses and visitors, reduce traffic congestion and improve safety. CPE is also used to try and influence driver behaviour and encourage people to use alternative sustainable forms of transport. More information about CPE is available on our website.
One of the ways CPE helps us to improve access to parking for residents, business and visitors is by having permit schemes. Permit schemes allow us to balance the differing needs of those wanting to park by providing long term parking for residents and shorter-term parking for visitors, traders and businesses.
Information about the different types of permits is available on our website and further on in this report you can read about the numbers of permits issued in 2021/22.
Whilst we manage the parking schemes across our CPE areas, we outsource a large part of our parking service to NSL. Although we refer to NSL as our enforcement contractor they provide more than just parking enforcement. NSL are the first point of contact for most of our customers whether it relates to general parking queries, permits or Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs).
The role of Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs)
The primary responsibility of CEOs is to enforce all the parking restrictions. To make sure that all of the CEOs act fairly and consistently they are instructed to issue a PCN to any vehicle they see parked in contravention. The CEOs do not have any access to look up who the owner of a vehicle is, and they are not allowed to go in search of the driver of a vehicle. There is a process in place allowing drivers to challenge a PCN if they feel it was issued incorrectly or that there were valid reasons to justify the vehicle being parked in contravention.
In addition to enforcing parking restrictions CEOs
- Report any defects they see with lines, signs, pay and display machines or the condition of the highway.
- Act as a source of local information, often giving directions or assisting people when they are lost or need some help.
- Monitor permits and the use of blue badges. CEOs have the authority to inspect badges and can seize them if they are being misused, for example, if the badge has expired or is being used by someone other than the badge holder. This is vital for helping to reduce misuse of blue badges and ensuring spaces are only being used by genuine blue badge holders.
Report any vehicles they suspect have been abandoned to Operation Crackdown.
Abuse and attacks on Civil Enforcement Officers (CEOs)
Sadly, CEOs experience some of the worst behaviours and characteristics displayed by people. When this happens, the officer will call for assistance using a code system, code yellow or code red.
- Code yellow is used when an officer requires assistance from either a Senior or Supervisor. This may be for informational purposes and or to make the office aware of potential situation for the officer’s welfare.
- Code red is used when a situation has escalated out of control and or when the officer feels threatened and may require police assistance.
The council has a policy on unreasonable customer behaviour which includes any behaviour that is offensive, abusive, threatening or physical. This policy applies in the rare situations where frustration, disappointment and upset turns into unacceptable behaviour towards any members of staff. Whilst it is not just CEOs that are subjected to this type of behaviour, they experience the severest forms and impact of it. The types of unreasonable customer behaviour include:
- using abusive or offensive language towards staff, verbally or in writing
- violent or aggressive behaviour
Abusive, offensive or threatening behaviour and physical assault is unacceptable wherever it takes place and all instances of this are reported to the Police. In 2021/22 there were
- 11 code reds
- 24 code yellows
- 7 of these were reported to the Police.
Body worn cameras
We will take proportionate action to protect the wellbeing of our staff from unreasonable behaviour in whatever form it takes. Given the increase in instances and severity of unreasonable behaviour towards CEOs we are going to be arranging for the officers to wear body cameras. Not only do we anticipate this will reduce the instances of abusive, offensive, and threatening behaviour towards them, when it does occur, the video evidence will help the Police to be able to take action against the perpetrators.
Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) in Rother
During the first full year of CPE in Rother District the enforcement team have developed their enforcement strategy, identifying locations that needed more attention whilst also maintaining a consistent level of enforcement across the whole district.
The team looked at the different types of transport used by the CEOs and made changes to reduce travel times, they introduced electric bikes, increasing the use of mopeds and home deploying staff were possible. This increased the amount of time the CEOs were able to be on patrol.
The team also changed the working rotas of the CEOs resulting in increased enforcement to meet the needs of the restrictions, including later nights and more patrols on Sundays.
The team have developed close working relationships with partners within Rother District, including working together with the Rother District Council, the Police, Highways England, East Sussex Highways and RNLI for Operation RADCOTT ensuring appropriate measures were in place for the enforcement of parking restrictions in Camber during the summer.
The first Rother parking review
The first post CPE review of the parking scheme in Rother started in October 2021. This was to allow the scheme to operate for a year giving time for people to get used to the restrictions and for parking patterns to settle.
We received nearly 1000 requests for the permit schemes to be extended, for new restrictions, or for changes to the restrictions already in place. To manage the high number of requests received, and make effective use of our budgets, they were all assessed against our priority ranking system. It took six months to consider and assess all the requests that we received. The outcome of the prioritisation of the requests for Rother [274.4 KB] [pdf] and Rye [169.8 KB] [pdf] is published on our website. We are progressing requests for 122 different locations that will be included in our informal consultation taking place in July 2022.
We and Rother District Council also commissioned The Project Centre to carry out a separate study of the parking arrangements in Rye. This was promised as part of the process of implementing the CPE scheme in Rother. The study took into account both on and off street parking to further understand the use of parking facilities in Rye town centre. The results of the study will also form part of the informal consultation, early indications from the study show that the results reflect the requests for changes that were submitted through our parking review process.
Updates on progress of the Rother review will be made at each stage on our website.
The 2020/21 Lewes approved restrictions were installed with the traffic order sealed in November 2021. The prioritisation for the Lewes 2021/22 review took place in November 2021, the informal consultation will take place in May.
The informal consultation for the Eastbourne review was completed in June 2021, and the formal consultation was completed in November 2021 when 715 letters were sent to residents.
The informal consultation in Hastings took place in May 2021. The formal consultation took place in October with approximately 1300 consultation letters sent to residents. All approved restrictions are being installed and once complete we anticipate the traffic order being sealed in April 2022.
The prioritisation of nearly 1000 requests for the first review of parking restrictions in Rother took place in October 2021, with 122 request taken forward to informal consultation.
Updates about our current reviews for Lewes, Hastings, Eastbourne and Rother are on our website.
Newhaven High Street
Part of the 2020/21 Lewes review included Newhaven High Street which was previously enforced under Town Police Clauses Act. With Police resources stretched this was no longer being enforced leading to dangerous and irresponsible parking. Vehicles were often parked on the pavement for long periods of time throughout the pedestrian area, this not only generating large amounts of complaints it was dangerous to all pedestrians.
Through the review process the High Street was brought under the CPE order meaning CEOs could enforce the pedestrian area to prevent vehicles parking there. Before enforcement started warning notices were issued for two weeks, CEOs also proactively spoke with traders and users of the high street to explain the new restrictions and offering advice when necessary. This improved the access and safety for pedestrians throughout the whole of the pedestrian area.
Hastings White Rock theatre area
During our last review of parking in Hasting borough we considered requests to review permit parking spaces available for residents near the theatre, in permits zones A and B. This area has always been in high demand for permits and a waiting list was in place for resident permits in zone A. We proposed to change the pay and display only bays to shared use bays and increase the time of restriction until 8pm on St Margarets Road and White Rock Road. During the informal and formal consultations feedback supported this proposal. The changes were made and came into effect in April 2022. This increased the permit spaces available for zone A by approximately 14 and 29 for zone B, and cleared the waiting list for resident permits in zone A.
Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs)
TROs are legal documents which may be made to control or restrict the use of the highway either temporarily or permanently.
Permanent TROs are used to make permanent changes such as introducing resident permit parking schemes or double yellow lines. Temporary TROs are used when there are scheduled short term works such as resurfacing or utility works.
During the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, we processed 12 permanent TROs and 712 temporary TROs. 1419 Public Notices were advertised.
Access Protection Markings (APMs)
An APM is a white line painted in front of a kerb which has been lowered to allow vehicle access, for example driveways. APMs are not legally enforceable but can help deter inconsiderate parking which restricts or blocks access.
During the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, 195 queries were received, 191 APM applications were made and 155 were installed.
We provide disabled parking bays to blue badge holders where there is a proven hardship caused by being regularly unable to park near their property. Provision of the bay is not automatic. Applicants must hold a valid blue badge, have a permanent and substantial disability, which means being unable to walk, or have considerable difficulty in walking any distance, and not have a suitable off-street area available to park.
During the period from 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022, 151 disabled bay applications were received. 49 were installed and 23 were removed as they were no longer needed.
All of our schemes offer permits for residents, businesses, traders and carers. Other permit types are available, but these differ in each area depending on the available kerb space and the differing needs of each area.
Permit waiting lists
Permit restrictions within our schemes mostly operate during the day, ending in the early evening. There are only a few zones where a permit is required later into the evening up until 8pm. With the permit restriction applying during the day, not all permit holders will be parked at the same time. For that reason, the number of resident permits we issue may exceed the number of bays available.
We monitor the number of permits issued, if the permit ratio reaches our maximum of 1.5 permits for each bay no more permits are issued, and a waiting list is introduced. It is made clear to applicants when applying for a permit that purchasing one does not guarantee a space.
At the time of producing this report, there are no waiting lists for permits in any of our parking zones.
To help maintain the integrity and benefits of our permit schemes we monitor the use of permits to make sure that they are being used as intended. On occasion we do find permits that are being misused, a warning will be issued to the permit holder and if misuse continues the permit will be withdrawn or further applications declined. The most common permit type to be misused are trade, then business and hotel. We find that traders do not prove the required works information needed to approve the permit. Business and hotel permit misuse are mostly because the permits are being used by staff to provide commuter parking close to their place of work. During the year:
• 695 permit applicants were contacted about the use of the permits they had applied for.
• 230 warnings were issued to applicants.
• 43 permit accounts were frozen pending further information and one permit was withdrawn.
Anyone who suspects permits are being misused can report this, email our customer service team or telephone them on 01273 335500 to report it.
Permits issued in 2021/22
The following tables show the numbers and types of permits sold in 2020/21 and 2021/22. For Rother, the CPE scheme started in September 2020 and we started issuing permits on 1 August 2020, therefore 2020/21 does not have a full year of permit sales.
All other types of permits
Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs)
PCNs are issued by CEOs to vehicles that are parked in contravention of the parking regulations. PCNs are usually placed on the windscreen of the vehicle or can be handed to the driver of the vehicle if they return when the PCN is being issued. There are two price bands of PCNs, higher for more serious contraventions and lower for less serious. The contravention in each band and the cost of them is set by legislation. You can find out more about the contravention codes on our website.
We also issue a different type of PCN, known as a regulation 10 PCN, that we can issue by post. These are for stopping on school keep clear markings and driving away before the PCN is placed on the vehicle and for entering a bus lane.
PCNs issued by month
13,163 PCNs were issued in Eastbourne borough in 2021/22. This was 5201 more than the previous year.
9,766 PCNs were issued in Hastings borough in 2021/22. This was 344 less than the previous year.
Lewes on street
7,254 PCNs were issued in Lewes district on street in 2021/22. This was 2,383 more than the previous year.
Lewes off street
A total of 3,242 PCNs were issued off street in Lewes District Council car parks and the Sussex Police car park at North Street in 2021/22. This was 1,345 more than the previous year.
256 PCNs were issued in County Hall car park. There was no enforcement of the car park in the previous year.
7,157 PCNs were issued in Rother district on street in 2021/22. This was 3,643 more than the previous year, the Rother parking scheme did not go live until the end of September 2020.
PCNs issued by contravention code
The number of PCNs paid in Eastbourne and Hastings was approximately 4% less than PCNs paid the previous year, although Lewes paid PCNs were up almost 2%, both on street and off.
PCNs challenged and appealed
Our Notice Processing Team received 11,893 items of correspondence related to the 40,838 PCNs issued.
Summary of PCNs paid, challenged and appealed
Of the 40,838 PCNs issued:
- 31,541 were paid.
- 2,617 were cancelled.
- 168 were written off.
- 6,512 remain open and unresolved.
- 33 cases were appealed to the independent adjudication service, Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT).
PCNs cancelled by reason
PCNs appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT)
33 appeals were submitted to the TPT to be considered by an independent adjudicator. 13 resulted in the adjudicator finding in favour of the appellant and instructing us to cancel the PCN. 19 were dismissed in our favour with the adjudicator instructing the appellant to pay the PCN.
Aside from customers contacting us about PCNs that have been issued, we receive a large number of non PCN related parking enquiries. We had 932 customer contacts this year, which is slightly higher than last year. The chart below shows the breakdown of the types of contact we received.
In addition to the above correspondence, we also sent out 3997 consultation packs, received 929 online review requests, installed 144 access protection markings and 37 disabled bays.
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests
We received 32 FOIs in 2021/22. The most common type of FOI request we receive relates to PCNs, either how many issued for a certain reason or location, or the income received from paid PCNs.
An archive of all the requests the council has received and responded to is published online, anyone can search the disclosure log for details of FOI requests by entering the search dates and a topic. Local Authorities also must have a publication scheme which contains categories of information we must make publicly available, this include things like what we spend, and how we spend it and payment to suppliers that are over £500. The publication scheme is detailed on our website.
Unreasonable customer behaviour
We cannot provide a service to all of our customers in a fair way if a customer dominates our service with frequent, lengthy contacts about the same issue which we are seeking to resolve or where we have already explained what we can and cannot do to resolve it. If a customer’s contact with us turns into unreasonable behaviour, as mentioned earlier in this report, there is an unreasonable customer behaviour policy in place.
Earlier in this report we covered how abusive, offensive and threatening behaviour is covered by this policy. In addition, the other types of unreasonable customer behaviour covered by this policy include:
- repeatedly refusing to use an existing process for escalating a problem or for challenging or appealing against a Council decision; and
- repeatedly contacting us about an issue which we are seeking to resolve or where we have already explained what we can and cannot do to resolve it, where no significant new information is being provided.
In the rare situations when this occurs, we will take proportionate action to protect the wellbeing of our staff and other customers from unreasonable behaviour in whatever form it takes.
Acting on customer feedback
We value all the feedback we receive about our parking schemes and services. Below is a summary of things you have asked for and what we did.
The total income from the parking schemes in 2021/22 was £6,289,179, after expenditure details of schemes the surplus supports are below.
Overall income and expenditure for all parking schemes
Overall surplus or deficit
Payments and investments supported by CPE surplus
Eastbourne borough income and expenditure
Hastings borough income and expenditure
Lewes district income and expenditure
Rother district income and expenditure
The tables below show the numbers of parking spaces within the parking zones in our CPE areas. As our parking bays are not individually marked the numbers shown are approximate. We believe that the best way to maximise use of the available space is to have one continuous bay without individually marked parking spaces within it. The permits we issue are valid for vehicles up to 6.5 metres in length, if spaces were individually marked, we would have to allow space for the longest permitted vehicle plus manoeuvring space.
Eastbourne parking spaces by zone and type
Hastings parking spaces by zone and type
Lewes parking spaces by zone and type
Rother parking spaces by zone and type
Information about spaces in the car parks is available on the district and borough council websites. There are links to these from our website.