PAVEMENT PARKING RAISES PEDESTRIAN SAFETY CONCERNS

Concerns for pedestrian safety have been raised by residents in an area of Crewkerne where vehicles are continuously parking on a pavement. The pavement in Court Barton, which is very narrow and described as a footpath, is being constantly blocked by cars whose owners are using the area for long-stay parking rather than pay £2 in the council owned pay and display car park nearby. One of the residents said: “This is what the residents in Court Barton have to put up with every day as workers in the town think it’s perfectly acceptable to park up over the footpath, so that elderly residents and children have to walk in the road.”

The road is regularly used by motorists taking a short cut from the top of Church Street across West Street to Middle Path where Crewkerne Health Centre and Crewkerne Hospital are located. Residents in Court Barton have also complained that parking outside of their homes means that they often have to “use the pay and display car park at West Street if we come back during the working day and are unable to park outside our homes, which is ironic.” 
In March last year, Crewkerne Town Council offered the people of the town the opportunity to decide on a request for permit parking in residential areas near the town centre. The town council confirmed that they had received requests from residents in Court Barton, Mount Pleasant, Henhayes Lane and Rose Lane for a Residents Parking Scheme.

Somerset County Council advised that applications for such a scheme, “would require an appropriate representative number of local residents asking for it before being considered.” The percentage required would equate to at least 60% of the number of residents in Crewkerne. The Residents Parking Scheme would cost at least £60 for the first car and £100 for a second vehicle. A parking permit would not guarantee a parking space and there would be problems in enforcing the parking restrictions and policing any residents only parking zones.

South Somerset District Council who operate a Decriminalized Parking Enforcement (DPE) state that they are only responsible for the enforcement and administration in Council owned car parks and SCC are responsible for all on street enforcement and parking restrictions. Unfortunately as Court Barton is not an area marked with yellow lines or displaying parking restriction signs, Civil Enforcement Officers, who conduct daily patrols in the town, are powerless to intervene.

A Police spokesman said: “If parking on a pavement is not specifically prohibited, parking a vehicle on the pavement could lead to an offence of obstruction.” Offences of obstruction can result in fixed penalty notices being issued where vehicles parked on a pavement obstructs pedestrians and wheelchair users and forces them to walk on the road. An obstruction can apply even if only one or two wheels of the vehicle are on the pavement. The amount of ‘Red Tape’ facing residents in Court Barton has not helped the problem and many have taken to monitoring the situation themselves, in an effort to stop motorists parking on the footpath, which as the photo supplied shows, is also in close proximity to residents front doors.

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