MOTORISTS in Woodley and Earley could face stricter parking enforcement under plans being put forward by Wokingham Borough Council.

Neighbourhood Action Groups (NAGs) have campaigned to de-criminalise parking for several years, and the idea has been given momentum with the council preparing a bid to gain authority over on-street parking.

Thames Valley Police is currently responsible for parking enforcement across the borough but financial pressure has meant the force has been unable to effectively carry this out.

Around 10 per cent of the country still has parking enforced by the police but some would like the borough council to take control with a civil parking enforcement (CPE) scheme, which would see traffic wardens patrol the roads.

Malcolm Richards, the borough’s executive deputy executive member for planning and highways, said: “Under CPE the police no longer issue tickets, it’s done by the local authority.

“There are 1,700 roads in the area and we don’t know how the cost will be distributed between different areas.”

Under the current system, all fines collected by the police are paid to central government but if parking is de-criminalised, penalties would be paid to the borough and the money would stay in the region.

Earley NAG chairman Jim Willis believes the borough is “lagging behind” and fully supports the move as he often receives complaints about parking, but does not want it to affect council tax.

He said: “To be perfectly honest there’s little enforcement going on unless we highlight it to the police. We ask the police to stick a few tickets on a few cars but nothing else happens.

“Civil enforcement means we’ll at least get some enforcement after all. We’re lagging behind and need to get up to date.

“It’ll stop people parking on double yellow lines outside of schools. A school in the morning can be a horror story.

“This will mean we can phone somebody and deal with it, just like the lighting or other issues.

“I will fully support it as long as it pays for itself. I don’t want it to be an opportunity to raise council tax by two per cent.”

The bid for CPE could take up two years to complete, and means residents will not see it in practice until mid-2016 at the earliest.