Outcry over restrictions that see drivers using ‘dark’and‘unsafe’ areas
An Airdrie town centre resident says new enforcement of its parking restrictions means neighbours are being directed to use unlit and unsafe car parks – or risk being fined for daytime parking near their homes.
Lorraine Macpherson received a £30 fine after leaving her vehicle for more than half an hour in a space outside her South Bridge Street home, which she has used for the decades she has lived in the property.
She has unsuccessfully appealed the penalty charge notice and is calling for resident permits to be made available, saying the suggested alternative parking at either side of High Street and via Mill Loan leaves both people and vehicles “vulnerable” and cannot be easily accessed from her street outside office hours.
North Lanarkshire Council say that a residents’ parking scheme is now due to be introduced in April; but insist the 8am to 6pm restrictions are required to accommodate shoppers.
Lorraine told the Advertiser : “We’ve always parked our cars on the street outside our houses, as close as we can get – we’ve done that for 25 years and never had tickets, even when there were traffic wardens here several years ago.
“We’d heard they were going to be introduced but didn’t know the effect and the residents weren’t specifically notified; the warden said there were signs on lampposts and leaflets put on cars, but ours aren’t there during the day.
“The council have said there are various car parks around the area that we can use, like the ones at the back of South Bridge Street – but I’ve had three cars broken into there and a car must have had its window smashed just a couple of weeks ago as there was glass all over the ground.
“It’s dark, poorly lit and unsafe, and I won’t be using it at night and risking myself and my car.
“People hang about there and I won’t take the chance of being threatened; there are no cars there when the shops are closed so it puts a lone person in danger, and there’s no direct access from South Bridge Street before 9am or after 5pm as the link walkway gets locked.”
Motorists are allowed to park for a maximum of 30 minutes on South Bridge Street during the restricted hours of 8am to 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays, and cannot return and park again for at least a further half-hour.
One side of the street has a loading bay where parking is prohibited in the restricted hours, and where loading is also prevented during the peak times of 8.30am to 9.30am and 4.30pm to 6pm.
Lorraine said: “The restrictions mean that when I get home from work at 5pm I’d have to park at the back for an hour, then walk all the way up or down the hill after the walkway is closed to get to my car and drive it round; and on Saturdays I’d have to get up and move my car somewhere before 8am.
“The alternative is leaving it in the back car park all night and risk it being broken into – and then walking all the way round or climbing the fence in the morning as I leave at 7.30am and the walkway isn’t open.
“Shopkeepers are convinced they’ll lose business – if people are going to the hairdresser, gym, post office or takeaway they’re going to be longer than the 30 minutes allotted, so I can imagine a sharp drop in revenue.
“The street has been deserted when I’ve arrived home in the evenings. I’ve emailed our councillors in the hope of a resolution; there are only a few residents who live in the street and have cars, so it would be quite nice if they gave us parking permits.”
Neighbour George Spittal agreed: “The parking behind the shops just isn’t safe, especially late at night – I wouldn’t have my wife and kids parking there
when they’re coming back from the kids’ clubs.
“Cars have been broken into in these car parks; and they also aren’t easy for older people to get from to their homes.
“The res t r i c t i o n s a re inconvenient for residents on South Bridge Street – for example, if the kids or I are ill and off work or school, the last thing you’re going to think about is going out to move the car in the morning.
“I understand the need for yellow lines and to stop people parking on them; but access to the town centre car parks isn’t safe or easy for residents and issuing permits would help with welfare and safety.”
Councillors agreed at last month’s full North Lanarkshire assembly that resident parking is required following the reintroduction of wardens to issue penalties to motorists flouting yellow- line restrictions, which had previously gone unenforced for more than seven years.
A spokesperson for the local authority told the Advertiser this week: “The council has decided to introduce a residents’ parking permit scheme, and is currently working on the details of how this will operate.
“We anticipate the scheme will come into effect at the start of the 2019-2020 financial year.
“Parking restrictions on South Bridge Street are designed to provide short- term parking spaces for up to 30 minutes for shoppers – however, residents can park in the bays from 6pm to 8am, Mondays to Saturdays.
“These restrictions have been in place for some time, but are now being enforced by our officers to improve access to the town centre, with spaces being made available for people visiting local shops and businesses.
“I n f o rma t i o n about the introduction of the decriminalised parking enforcement scheme was made available in advance in the local media, on the council’s website and social media channels, and on leaflets distributed in town centres.”
I wouldn’t have my wife and kids parking there when they’re coming back from the kids’ clubs George Spittal
Concerns Parking problem Lorraine and her neighbours highlight the issue Lorraine claims shopkeepers in South Bridge Street (pictured) are convinced they’ll lose business