Residents call for action on dangerous street parking
PARENTS with pushchairs and wheelchair users are being forced onto dangerous roads because of parked cars blocking pavements.
The issue is among a number of problems frustrating residents in West Lancashire as the number of cars on our streets continues to grow.
According to the Department for Transport, there were 1.19 cars per household in the
North West in 2018, a rise of 13% compared with 15 years earlier.
As that number continues to grow, more cars are spilling off driveways and onto pavements, but there is little power to stop those who are parking antisocially.
Under current legislation, only the police can punish drivers who park on footpaths if there are no other restrictions in place, meaning local authorities are powerless when residents complain.
Lancashire County Council is proposing a change in the law to deal with the issue, suggesting that the offence of obstructing the highway be decriminalised so that its own enforcement teams can issue tickets.
However, like many other parts of the country, West Lancashire has some streets so narrow that if drivers always had to park solely on the road, other vehicles would not be able to pass – effectively creating parking restrictions where none currently exist.
As such, County Cllr Keith Iddon told a meeting of the full council that he did not want to see a blanket ban on pavement parking in Lancashire, as has existed in London since 1974.
“It’s a very important issue, [because] we are a very diverse county. In London, the city has adapted to [the ban] – in Lancashire, we aren’t that fortunate,” he said.
We asked Ormskirk and Burscough residents about their experiences of the issues of parking around the borough and a large number of problem areas were mentioned by frustrated motorists and pedestrians.
They included streets that are too narrow to park purely on the road; areas that are persistently double parked, causing access difficulties for emergency services; and various areas where pavements are so blocked by cars that vulnerable pedestrians are forced onto the road.
Tensions surrounding the issue are such that one student revealed that his and a friend’s car were deliberately scratched and marked by neighbours who were angry with their parking.
Chris Smith was living in Green Lane when the problems occurred. He explained: “To begin with we parked with our cars ever so slightly on the kerb, not blocking anyone’s access, and the cars were vandalised multiple times.
“This vandalism also came with a note to my next door neighbours telling them to move the car off the pavement. The vandalism did cease when the cars were moved off the kerb, however it was a bit too little too late.
“I do think in serious cases, such as St Helens Road outside [Edge Hill] the police should take decisive action. However, in other situations such as mine, I think vandalising a student’s car he worked his backside off to pay for is disgraceful, and taking the law into your own hands like that is a dangerous thing to do.”
The matter was reported to police but no culprit was identified.
Parking around the university does remain a hotbed of complaints but the theme is reflected in most built-up areas across Ormskirk and its surroundings.
One Colburne Close resident said that parents used her road when dropping off children at two nearby schools and have been abusive when she has challenged them about blocking her car in.
She said: “Parents park their cars double parked every day. You can’t walk on the pavement, you have to walk in the road. The schools know about it and so does the council but still it goes on.
“They park in front of our houses on double yellow lines but still nothing stops them.”
Schools were a recurring theme among those who raised issues, with Anthony Baldwin mentioning Tower Hill as another area rife with pavement parking.
He said that cars regularly double park on the pavement, forcing pedestrians onto the street.
He added: “Children walking in roads to get past cars parked on pavements is a tragedy waiting to happen. Tower Hill is a notorious rat run for cars speeding anyway.
“Cars parked double
County Cllr Keith Iddon County Councillor Gillian Oliver
In some cases, drivers park completely blocking pavements