CONCERNS have been raised over the future enforcement of on-street parking in Newport city centre following an announcement this week.

As previously reported, Gwent Police have told Gwent councils they intend to withdraw officers and staff from activities that involve enforcing parking restrictions as of April 1, 2018.

Superintendent Nick McLain, from Gwent Police, said that the transfer will bring about a “consistent approach” with the force stating legal requirements will not be in place until 2019.

Newport Council’s cabinet member for Streetscene, Cllr Roger Jeavons, said it would be "at least 18 months from approval” before the council could decriminalise on-street parking and take offenders through the civil process.

Kevin Ward, manager of Newport Now’s Business Improvement District (BID) – which represents 450 businesses in Newport – said the organisation has several concerns.

These range from security to the practicalities of the potential changeover - which could temporarily leave Newport without parking enforcement.

“Our concern is not so much who is going to be responsible for the enforcement, it’s more that enforcement happens,” he said.

“At the moment, parking in the city centre, or in parts of Newport, there appears to be a free for all and I know police will say that’s not the case but that’s the perception.

“The standing joke is that you can’t find a double yellow line to park on.”

Mr Ward added there could be an interim period without enforcement as the council must go through an 18-month process before enforcement takes place.

“There could be a period where nobody is policing parking,” he said.

“A lot of people in Newport are concerned about that.

“We understand that the police have got limited resources but if you have rules around parking then the only way to make sure people abide by those rules is to enforce them.”

Leader of Newport council’s Conservative group, Cllr Matthew Evans, also expressed concerns over the parking plans and said “ a decision has to be taken”.

“It’s a concern and is something that’s brought up constantly by residents. We need to address the situation,” he said.

While “no one has taken the decision yet”, the councillor claimed it would cost the council more than £1million if they were to accept responsibility for parking enforcement.

Newport City Council will discuss Gwent Police’s plans to transfer parking enforcement to local authorities at its next meeting of the scrutiny committee.