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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Pavement parking predicament: Bradford Council calls for government action after years of waiting.

Pavement parking 'becoming more acceptable' - Councillor fears

This week Bradford Councillors discussed pavement parking, an issue that plagues streets across the District.

Members said it was one of the most common complaints they received as Councillors.

And the Government was slammed for a “dereliction of duty” for failing to publish the results of a survey that could ban pavement parking – a survey completed over three years ago.

Cllr Matt Edwards Image: Bradford Council

Cllr Matt Edwards, leader of the Greens on Bradford Council, brought a motion to a full Council meeting on Tuesday calling for the Council to do more to deal with the issue.

He told his fellow Councillors it was “one of the most consistent complaints” he received as a Councillor.

Cllr Edwards said: “Vehicles parked on the pavement and grass verges are a common sight across our District.

“It isn’t just inconvenient – it’s actually very dangerous. Parking on the pavement creates a hazard for people walking and wheeling. It puts people at a greater risk of collision, injury – or worse – by forcing them into the road – just to get past.

“The Highway Code is clear – vehicles should not park on the pavement. But, outside of London – and more recently Scotland, it is still legal.

“This national government is failing to take a lead on this. In November 2020, the DoT consultation on pavement parking ended – and since then silence. The 15,000 people who took time to take part in this consultation are still waiting for a response.

“But whilst we wait, the issue still exists – and it is getting worse.

“Vehicles parked on pavements cost our council thousands of pounds a year in damage paving, damage to gullies and other ironwork, and damage to grass verges.

“This figure is increasing as cars get bigger and heavier – and as pavement parking becomes more ‘acceptable’ and common.”

His motion called for a number of actions, including Council officers liaising with local Councillors to identify pavement parking hot spots, writing to Government to push for the pavement parking review to be published and to use whatever powers the Council legally had to tackle the issue.

Cllr Alex Ross Shaw. Image: Bradford Council

Cllr Alex Ross Shaw, Executive for Regeneration Planning and Transport, said: “Many modern estates are not built for the number of cars we have today. And we have a number of Conservation Areas designed for no cars at all, let alone multiple cars a household.

“The public are becoming increasingly frustrated by the issue, and the as Councillors it remains one of the most frustrating issues to deal with.

“We need to differentiate between a careless driver who parks their car entirely on the pavement rather than park 10 yards down the road, and people who live in an area where they have to park partly on the pavement to avoid collisions, and leaves plenty of space for pedestrians.”

He said the Council had “heard nothing” from the Government regarding the national consultation.

A Labour amendment to Cllr Edwards’ budget kept many of his suggestions, but removed the mention off officers compiling a list of pavement parking “hot spots.”

Cllr Alun Griffiths. Image: Bradford Council

Cllr Alun Griffiths (Lib Dem, Idle and Thackley) said: “It is frustrating having to explain to people that driving on the pavement is illegal, but pavement parking can’t be seen as evidence of an offence. There is a lack of clarity with the rules.”

He said the Lib Dems favoured the Lib Dem motion over the Labour one, as a list of pavement parking hot spots could prove useful if the legislation was to change.

Referring to the lack of detail on the Government’s consultation, he added: “It is a gross dereliction of the Government’s duty that they did a consultation over three years ago but has not yet given the results.”

Cllr Andrew Loy (Cons, Ilkley) said the damage caused by pavement parking meant

Cllr Andrew Loy. Image: Bradford Counicl

pedestrians had to avoid cracked flags even when the cars had moved on.

He said a huge amount of work had been done to re-lay flags on one street in Ilkley, only for drivers to then park on these newly laid pavements.

But he said: “I don’t think we should forge ahead with anything before we know the outcome of the Government consultation.”

Cllr Edwards replied: “We’ve been waiting almost four years for this. The Government doesn’t have a great track record of delivering on its consultations.”

The Council then voted to approve the Labour amendment to the Green motion.

The motion calls for the Council to

  • Take action on inconsiderate pavement parking wherever it is found in the district within existing legislation.
  • Write to the Secretary of State for Transport requesting that the Government’s response to the consultation now be published as promised
  • Ask officers to provide a comprehensive briefing note to all Councillors outlining the existing powers available to deal with pavement parking
  • Write to the Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime to ask her to ensure that West Yorkshire Police are consistently using their powers to tackle nuisance / obstruction offences.

When asked when the pavement parking consultation results would be released, a DfT spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Everyone should be able to navigate their streets without obstacles, and while local authorities already have powers to prohibit it through local regulation, we have consulted on further helping them take action. The response to this will be published in due course.”

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