Private Public Parking Penalisers
Surrey County Council have agreed a new seven year parking and traffic enforcement contract with Marston Holdings Ltd. The contract will mean that parking and traffic enforcement will be operated in partnership between the council and Marston, helping to achieve the council’s transport objectives.
Cabinet Member for Highways and Community Resilience, Kevin Deanus (Conservative member, Waverley Eastern Villages) said: “The new contract will mean that Surrey County Council can more directly and consistently manage on street parking enforcement across the county, helping to tackle inconsiderate parking and make parking restrictions more effective. In addition the contract will allow the installation of traffic enforcement cameras on Surrey’s roads that can be used to help reduce congestion and improve road safety.
“Through the procurement process, Marstons demonstrated an excellent understanding of our requirements and what is needed to operate a successful and cost effective enforcement service to benefit Surrey residents.”
Marstons made a £19.8 million profit on a turnover of £255 million in year end 31st May 2021. Next accounts due to be filed 23rd February. It lists its principal activities as: Consulting and technology; Back office processing; DVLA services; Civil parking services; Road traffic debt recovery; Smart meter installations; and Motor vehicle recoveries. It also provides other debt recovery and enforcement services, including: Criminal fine enforcement; council tax recovery; Civil enforcement; and Utility sector debt recovery.
Epsom and Ewell Times has obtained the following responses from local politicians:
Mark Todd Chair of Epsom and Ewell Labour Party commented: “”This is just more outsourcing likely to lead to poorer services with poorly paid staff exploited by private contractors on behalf of Conservative Surrey County Council. Surrey’s long term outsourcing of road maintenance has been a disaster with its roads regularly rated as the worst, most pot-holed in the UK. Every time we speak to Epsom & Ewell residents, the sorry state of the roads is their top concern. Labour is committed to investing in public services so taxpayers get good value for money from a well-trained, fairly-paid council workforce – we are strongly opposed to Council Tax being siphoned off to profits for private contractors who consistently fail to deliver.”
Gina Miller of the True and Fair Party said: “The finer details of this contract need to be carefully examined. What we must avoid is a private sector company being incentivised to issue tickets, inflating their profits at the expense of honest drivers. There must also be a fair appeals process and no adoption of unsavoury debt collection processes. Without doubt we need to see proper oversight of the contract to make sure no one is penalised unfairly.”
Helen Maguire PPC for the Liberal Democrats said “The moves by SCC to privatise and centralise parking enforcement is just another example of the SCC’s Tory party’s attempt to concentrate power at the centre and away from working with local communities. The moves to put revenues into private companies, divorced from the communities that the like of EEBC serve are an affront to local democracy. Last year, the same centralising tendencies within SCC broke up the working groups that the County Council had with its local community councils – such as Epsom & Ewell and Mole Valley – preferring instead to silence the voice of local residents, so enabling them to get on with running the County as they see fit – that is, with less opposition or scrutiny. Currently, Epsom & Ewell BC successfully manage parking issues through their Contact Centre directly with the Parking Manager and his team of wardens. This self funded, not-for-profit-regime has worked well for many years because it is operated by local people who know the area intimately and have kept our residents and other road users safe. Now we see emerging a centralised enforcement regime, put out to private contractors, who in our view, will put more emphasis on enforcement to increase revenues to pay shareholders, rather than a strong but fair local system, that works directly for local interests.”
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