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LOCAL residents have expressed concern and frustration over the continued practice of drivers parking on pavements. A Bill to tackle the problem has been withdrawn, but the Government say a policy review will be undertaken.
North Dorset MP, Simon Hoare’s Bill proposed a complete ban on pavement parking and suggested more powers should be available to highway authorities. However, the MP withdrew the Bill on 4th December following a commitment from the Government to review the pavement parking policy in the new year.
Simon Hoare MP said, “Following detailed discussions, I have withdrawn the Bill following the Minister’s commitment to convene a round table and undertake a policy review.
“This response demonstrates the Government’s commitment to improving access for all pedestrians including disabled and vulnerable people. A government examination of the current issues gives us the best opportunity of securing Government backing for legislative change.
“I would like to thank my Parliamentary colleagues and the public who have supported this Bill in raising the profile of a need for a review of the current law.”
Local man Stephen Hyde expressed his concern saying, “I was born and grew up in Frome and I come to Frome on a regular basis. I was registered severely sight impaired/ blind in 2010 and appreciate how difficult it can be to negotiate pavements.
“It is most regrettable that parking on pavements is so commonplace that legislation to prevent it needs to be considered.
“Unfortunately there are thoughtless drivers who take no pride in their driving and do not value it as the privilege it is. These are drivers who think themselves more important than anyone else and value their vehicles more than human life.
“The other category are the drivers who think that they are helping everybody else by not parking on the road, not even a thought to consider that pavements are for the use of pedestrians.
“The withdrawal of the Bill means that blind people, wheelchair users, parents with prams, the frail and elderly will continue to be forced to walk among moving traffic because the pavement is blocked.
“This is a particular hazard for the blind because such obstacles are disorienting and they cannot see how to find safety, and wheelchair users who may indeed not be able to move over the curb to reach the road.
“I will be delving into the reasons that the Bill was withdrawn with a view to getting it reinstated.”
Another resident, David Morgan said, “I am concerned about the bill being withdrawn. The inconsiderate drivers will have free reign to park wherever and whenever they like.
“Commercial vehicles especially are a particular hazard because of their size.
“There is little enough consideration given to yellow line restrictions and that does not include dangerous parking in and around road junctions.
“I understand the need to patrol the town centres but residents such as me also deserve to have the same protection from mindless drivers.
“To quote a councillor of many years ago when I attended a council meeting to complain about the on street parking in the Stonebridge area, ‘We allow the parking because it acts as an unofficial traffic calming scheme.’
“I think that I will not be surprised by the further dilution of common sense but find that I still am.”
National charity Living Streets, which campaigns for pedestrians are pleased with the outcome.
Living Streets’ chief executive Joe Irvin said, “This is an important and positive step towards limiting the danger pavement parking poses to pedestrians in England and Wales.
“Our streets should be easy and accessible to walk on and vehicles parked on pavements cause an obstruction to all. At best, pavement parking is a nuisance and at worst, it can put people’s safety at risk by forcing them into the road.
“We know that pavement parking is an issue that many people care passionately about, with nearly 2,500 people writing to their MP asking them to back the bill.
“Now it’s crucial that the Government acts promptly to see through its commitment to examine the issue properly. Along with Guide Dogs, we look forward to working with the Government on their review of pavement parking legislation and positively informing decisions next year.”