COUNTY Council chiefs are taking over responsibility for on-street parking from the police.

Carl Longland, director of environment, says it is likely to be 18 months before the process is complete but Flintshire councillors are keen for it to happen as soon as possible.

Shotton councillor Ann Minshull said: “I speak for someone who represents the most congested town in Flintshire. I would urge the director to try and get this done sooner rather than later, especially for the sake of the people I represent. They live with this every day and I don’t know anywhere in Flintshire that is as congested in Shotton.”

Currently the council deals with off-street parking with North Wales Police having responsibility for on-street parking.

But the police have said parking is not their main priority.

If the proposal is approved by the Welsh Assembly, council-appointed wardens will be given powers to hand out fixed penalty notices and impound illegally parked cars.

Council chiefs say they have not yet finalised how much the parking fines will be.

Lead officer Neal Cockerton said the proposal would improve road safety and help boost the economy.

He said: “Clearer roads will improve road safety because we will be able to clear some of these congested streets where people park where they want.

“There will be increased accessibility for the disabled because we have a lot of people parking in disabled bays who shouldn’t and we will be able to enforce that.

“It will also assist the economy. A lot of people don’t want to come and shop if they have to navigate around parked traffic, so clearer streets will help the economy.”

Whitford councillor Chris Dolphin urged the council not to forget the rural areas, particularly the Singing Kettle service station on the A55 near Caerwys, during the clampdown.

He said: “The Singing Kettle site has double yellow lines, which are not enforced. The police said they would enforce it when they are passing, but they don’t seem to be passing very often. The double yellow lines are there for a reason – it’s a very dangerous area.”

A project manager has now been appointed to take the proposal forward.

Mr Longland added: “I’m confident that we can now pursue this with absolute rigour – we are dedicated to it.”