MOTORISTS who park on yellow lines, dangerously outside schools or in other illegal spots could soon find the chances of getting caught – and fined – will substantially increase.
Huntingdonshire District Council (HDC) is drawing up a business case to take over enforcement of parking restrictions on our streets - and that would mean more enforcement and parking tickets in the market towns.
De-criminalising parking would allow HDC to take over the responsibility for issuing fines - or bring in a contractor to carry out the work - from Cambridgeshire police.
The same set-up exists in Cambridge.
Councillor Jason Ablewhite, executive leader of HDC, said the changes would benefit the market towns' economies.
"It makes a lot of sense and in Cambridge it has worked very well," he told The Hunts Post.
"De-criminalising the road means that we will take over responsibility from the police, so vehicles parked on zig-zags outside schools, on yellow lines or double parked will be ticketed.
"The police have made it clear that parking is not a priority for them. We see it time and time again where people are really taking the mickey.
"Whether we take it on ourselves and use our street rangers, who already look after the car parks, to monitor the yellow lines, or look at a third party, like in Cambridge, is still to be decided.
"It would have to be self-funding, not for money making, as money raised would pay for the new staff and new metering."
He added: "In Market Hill, in St Ives, there is free parking, but people who work in the town centre can park there all day [without getting a ticket].
"Where is the benefit to the local economy?
"It could also help residents who live near St Neots railway station and see commuters park in residential areas then get on a train to London."
Cllr Ablewhite has also raised concerns about some traffic orders where there are existing yellow lines.
"Some are out of date and need renewing and others are incorrect, but the county council doesn't have the appetite for it," he said.
"We are looking at whether we can take it on as well. We could then sort the traffic orders, paint the yellow lines and enforce them, stopping drivers from parking in these places."
A Cambridgeshire police spokesman said: "We are aware of this business case and would support any action that enables us to focus further on reducing crime.
"Parking enforcement is done on a case-by-case basis depending on the impact on the wider community. This has to take into account other current local priorities such as burglary."
A Cambridgeshire County Council spokesman said: "As always, we are working closely with HDC. We are aware of their plans and we are in discussion with them."