CAR “tow-away zones” are among measures being considered by BCP Council as part of efforts to reduce parking issues during busier periods.
Council leader Cllr Vikki Slade said the next stage of an ongoing review of car parking arrangements across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole will consider their feasibility, writes Josh Wright of the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
It followed hundreds of reports of vehicles parked illegally as the area saw an influx of visitors attracted by the warm weather last Wednesday and Thursday and criticism that more should have been done to prepare.
Concerns have been raised that the current £40 fines the council can issue are not enough of a deterrent with the charge too low to put off many visitors.
On Thursday, the council issued a record-breaking 993 fixed penalty charges, many for vehicles stopped on roadside verges or double yellow lines.
Conservative shadow cabinet member for tourism, Cllr Phil Broadhead, said the council now needed to “get on top” of the issue.
“When people drive from a long way to come to the beach and find the car parks full or closed they don’t go home, they find somewhere else to park,” he said.
“Either we need to make sure the enforcement is bang on or that there is adequate enforcement available.
“You have to be no-nonsense about this sort of thing. The £40 fine is not deterrent enough, but equally we should have been prepared for this.”
Cllr Slade said that “everything had been done” to prepare for an influx of visitors but the council did not have the power to increase fines or remove cars.
She added the council was looking at how parking arrangements across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole were being carried out and this would include the possibility of “tow-away zones” that the council could enforce.
“Bournemouth and Poole have never had tow-away zones, probably because it would push the impact onto the next road, but that’s the next part of our parking review,” Cllr Slade said.
“At the moment only the police can tow away vehicles, unless they are an abandoned vehicle in which case we have to go through quite a lengthy process.”
She added that the council would also look to “lobby government” for powers to increase its fines from £40 to dissuade people from parking illegally and that the number of traffic wardens was being increased.