'Spy cars' will patrol Milton Keynes in the New Year seeking out parking offenders

New 'spy' cars with ANPR are to cruise the streets of MK looking for parking offenders in the New Year.

The cars will scan all vehicles in parking permit zones to check whether the owners have registered for resident or visitor parking permits.

Cllr Dan Gilbert

Cllr Dan Gilbert

It they don't hold a permit, they will automatically be fined.

But the move has sparked criticism from Conservative councillors, who this week discovered the council has already reduced the number of parking enforcement officers from 23 to 18 to make way for the new system.

This means motorists could be getting away with parking in permit areas, they say.

“The staff cuts have been made before the ANPR vehicles are even on the streets. At the same time, a new controlled parking zone has been created in Caldecotte, increasing the overall area that needs to be patrolled,” said Dan Gilbert, Tory councillor for Loughton and Shenley .

He added: “Just a few months ago, the council united behind a motion to improve enforcement in Loughton and other controlled parking zones. Yet it seems the Cabinet’s immediate response has been to cut the number of parking enforcement officers.

“This is the latest blow for people living in Loughton and other Controlled Parking Zones who are worried about dangerously congested residential streets.”

The council says the 18 officers are working overtime to cope with the extra workload. But this has drawn more criticism from the Tories.

“We seem to have a Labour-run council that is institutionalising over-time work to ensure these 18 officers make up the hours,” said Cllr Gilbert.

He said Conservative ward parish councillors are opposed to charging for resident parking permits.

“But if we are forced to pay extra for the privilege of keeping roads safe, then we should at least be sure we’re getting what we pay for.

“Labour’s parking enforcement policy seems to be: cut the number of officers, pay for a bit of over-time and keep your fingers crossed that the technology works. It’s parking enforcement on a wing and a prayer, and it really isn’t good enough.”

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