The city with no parking wardens where everyone just parks where they want
In most city centres, a driver who parked on a double yellow line would reasonably expect a ticket.
But in Newport, cars regularly park on single and double yellow lines, resident only areas – even pavements – and few return to find any sanction posted on their windscreens.
A lack of enforcement has led to daily lines of cars parked on restricted areas near the city’s train station, through High Street and Commercial Street, and the surrounding residential areas.
Frustrated residents, business owners and visitors say they have been appealing to the authorities to crack down on the problem for a number of years.
Builder David Davies lives on Caerau Road, just a short walk from the city centre and the train station.
The 47-year-old said he is constantly battling to keep drivers without resident permits from parking outside his home.
“It’s been happening since I moved here in 2013,” David said.
“If you go back towards Queen’s Hill the amount of cars parked on the single and double yellow lines is insane.”
David said the lack of enforcement has made him reluctant to renew his own resident permit.
“My wife hasn’t renewed hers because they don’t do anything about it,” he added.
“I was in Baneswell for 10 years and it was similar when we lived there. There used to be traffic wardens then so they would get booked.”
Gwent Police are currently responsible for parking enforcement in Newport.
The force recently announced its intention to relinquish control of parking enforcement in the city, and transfer powers to Newport City Council.
A formal application for the transferral of those powers to the council were made to Welsh Government in September last year.
The council said it will begin civil parking enforcement on July 1, 2019, with preparations underway to make the transition.
In the meantime, Gwent Police said parking enforcement “is currently not a policing priority”.
A spokesperson said: “Gwent Police do not have contracted traffic wardens for the city centre.
“We currently have two Community Support Officers who regularly patrol the area, carrying out enforcement among other priorities.
“Police officers are currently responsible for parking enforcement. However, this is currently not a policing priority as set by the community.
“Our city centre priorities are reducing anti-social behaviour, working with partners to address issues around begging and homelessness, reducing violence associated with the night time economy, and tackling organised criminality.
“Therefore, parking enforcement is carried out when demand and resources allow.”
Sam Dabb, who runs Le Pub on High Street said she and other business owners regularly contact the police to ask for illegally parked vehicles to be moved.
She said cars often park on space outside the venue that the business uses for outside seating.
“It’s currently incredibly dangerous,” she said. “You could not get an emergency vehicle down Market Street at any time of day.
“Bands and deliveries of stock can’t get anywhere near the pub because of illegally parked cars and it makes running a business very difficult.
“We also live by the hospital and the way cars are dumped there is just as bad. We’ve had our drive blocked before now.”
Another business owner on High Street, who preferred not to be named, said: “It’s a free for all.
“I can see Community Support Officers ticketing sometimes. I think I have seen it three times.
“As soon as they start, the word spreads and then you can see everyone coming out to move their cars.
“It’s quite comical.”
Newport City Council says it is working on reinstating faded double yellow lines, limited waiting and traffic enforcement regulation signs across the city in preparation for regaining parking enforcement responsibility.
The transfer will mean creating a new service within the council which will deploy 12 “enforcement officers” to work across the city issuing penalty charge notices.
In a statement issued in December, Councillor Roger Jeavons, the council’s cabinet member for streetscene said: “With the police withdrawing from enforcement, and continuing dissatisfaction being expressed by residents and businesses across the city regarding the rising levels of illegal parking, the introduction of civil parking enforcement is widely welcomed across the city.
“We have officers working behind the scenes reviewing traffic orders and checking all the regulations are watertight in readiness for us taking charge.
“Under these new powers, the council will deploy 12 enforcement officers to work across the city with authority to issue penalty charge notices for parking contraventions.”