Brighton and Hove City Council’s parking team aims to be at the forefront of new and relevant parking initiatives, says Paul Nicholls, parking strategy and contracts manager. “We seek to promote best practice and continual quality improvement across the service and within the parking industry as a whole. The Parking Services team has shown a commitment to positive change over the past 18 months.”
Following a major review of policies and services, the team has implemented a new parking permit solution utilising the current council system MyAccount, where residents can currently pay their council tax, strengthening the “one council” ethos. In April 2021 97% of resident permits were purchased online compared to 35% before the online solution was released.
Off-street, the city’s parks have been modernised, with works including the procurement and award of replacing all car park equipment. On-street, new cameras have been installed to assist with bus lanes/gate enforcement. Parking services carried out a project of producing video evidence-based packs for the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT) for penalty charge notices (PCNs) issued for people caught driving in bus lanes by CCTV. The council has also introduced cycle lane enforcement using cameras.
The council is supporting the adoption of electric vehicles, with 200 lamp column chargers, as well as rapid charger hubs and fast chargers being installed. This has led to an estimated 100 tonnes of CO2 being saved. Mandatory EV bays have also been introduced.
Parking Services has assisted with a School Streets project which assisted with physical distancing requirements by reducing the street space which motor vehicles occupy. meaning safer roads for everyone. Meanwhile, the creation of a Disabled Car User Group is helping build better relationships and establish direct communication between disabled people and the council.
The team has also added information regarding a zero tolerance approach to abuse of its civil enforcement officers to the Parking Services’ webpages. The team identified the amount of cases being debt registered was excessive and took the view that making an intervention at this point could lead to efficiencies by limiting unnecessary registration fees. This led to savings in excess of £25,000 and provided an opportunity for additional engagement with motorists.
Like many local authorities, Brighton & Hove adapted to working during the pandemic. For example, in response to COVID-19 closure of the Parking Customer Service Centre, the team moved all services either online or to phone service. The vacant centre was re-purposed to assist with other council service’s needs, such as being used to store personal protective equipment (PPE). Civil enforcement officers were redeployed during the pandemic to alternative tasks including the stewarding of newly pedestrianised areas such as Madeira Drive, stewarding of refuse sites, cleaning of P&D machines and food deliveries to the vulnerable. This minimised furloughing of staff. The team also worked with the Royal Sussex County Hospital to align strategies for NHS parking around the city during the pandemic.
Communicating with residents and local stakeholders via the creation of parking annual reports has been a priority for Brighton & Hove City Council. Parking Services has been shortlisted in the PATROL annual report awards for 11 years and won the overall report award two years ago.
The team has contributed to government consultations on pavement parking moving traffic regulations and private parking Code of Practice consultation as well as the Royal Sussex County Hospital parking consultation. Parking Services shared its work on EV chargepoints to around 100 parking managers at the PATROL Leading the Charge webinar. “We have received extremely positive feedback regarding the event, with multiple requests for copies of the speakers’ presentations,” said Nicholls.
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