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Chaos and Gridlock in South Street

Monday 21 March 2011, 07:33
By John Baxter

Chaos and Gridlock in South Street as Selfish Motorists Park Illegally.

Illegal parking outside NatWest bankIt strikes me that the illegal parking outside the Nat West Bank in South Street presents us all with quite a serious traffic problem. Many people I have spoken to complain about it but no-one seems able to deal with it. It is a double yellow line area which means it is always illegal to park there and those who do are liable to a fine - though not to extra points on their licence.

So many seem to think they have a right to park there oblivious to the chaos caused which is often significant, highly disruptive, time wasting and dangerous.

As in the photo cars frequently mount the pavement making it impassable for mothers with push-chairs and local disabled people who use buggies to get about.

Sadly I have been told other disabled people who drive cars, park outside the bank thinking they have a right to do so because they have a disabled badge. The police assure me they do not because their action is a dangerous disruption of the traffic.

Almost daily, and often several times during the day and late into the evening the road is totally blocked when a coach or large truck comes along to discover that someone is either taking their time getting money from the ATM or has popped into a take-away for food leaving their car unattended. On other occasions they saunter off down to the Post Office or visit other shops in the High Street apparently blissfully unaware of the chaos and disruption their selfishness has caused other people. The result is that often there is a queue down the High Street or up from as far as Station Road with cars stuck in gridlock for ten minutes - I do not exaggerate having missed a train connection as a result.

A tight fit jams the road frequentlySam Skirton our Town Clerk, sick of watching this happen asked the police for cones which she placed outside the bank. The result was she was subjected to so much abuse from those who saw her doing this that she gave up. The bank staff also complained that they were being abused by angry customers and they were getting less business. The police station was also visited by angry motorists complaining about being ticketed or claiming their disabled badges gave them the right to park there.

On top of this the owners of the Nog Inn report their private car park is continuously filled up with bank and fast food customers so blocking parking for their customers despite their sign and warning of a parking fine.

What could be done? Spend time outside and it is clear the great majority of the disruption is caused by bank customers so we need to ask if the bank is entitled to have a roadside ATM in a place where it obviously causes such disruption? Who gave them permission to have it there and who could revoke it? Would it not be better if it was - as with HSBC - in their building and only accessible during bank opening hours? After all there is no shortage of other ATMs in the town and in the High Street. People could always park properly and walk or they could drive down to Morrisons. What about a camera or a red line outside the bank?

I am surprised we have not already had serious accidents as the daily gridlocks continue or have I missed something? What powers do the Town, District and County councils have regarding this problem? Have any councillors got any plans to improve things or do we continue to drift along until something drastic happens. Tell us what you think.

John Baxter


Posts: 1
Reply #1 on : Tue March 22, 2011, 10:28:54
I would just like to clarify that I did not give up due to any abuse. I had contacted the Police and asked if we could use the cones for a two week period to assess the impact, to which they agreed. The cones were placed out at 8:30 am and taken away at 4pm. It worked quite well for the first week, however vehicles were parking in the Nog car park or moving the cones slightly to park at the cashpoint. I had negative comments from only one person. Council are aware of the problem and have raised their concerns with the Highways Department.
Posts: 2
Reply #2 on : Wed March 23, 2011, 11:17:17
More like abandonment. Since moving to town even I can see that there is huge abuse of parking. We should be asking:

What are the police doing about it?
What are Town/District/County Councils doing about it?
What about the banks? What are they doing about it?

Walking up the High Street I see that all three banks have their cash points in the worst possible positions. HSBC may have in internal cash point, but that doesn't stop people parking on double yellows to make use of it.

I've seen vehicles parked outside Lloyds causing chaos. Surely there has to be a way to get all cash points off the High Street (a very narrow High Street) to a more appropriate place.

Maybe we should have an agreement with all three banks to site their machines in one safe area near the High Street.

What about asking Coop to host all the machine on their wall next to the car park?

It's clear that it won't just happen naturally. A solution for this will cost, and none of the parties involved will be happy to pay. So if a solution is to be found we need someone to cut through all the ongoing whining and get something done.

Posts: 1
Blitz the parking offenders!
Reply #3 on : Wed March 23, 2011, 11:52:15
To be fair to the banks, their choice of positioning for a cash point machine (within their own building) is pretty limited. And I can’t see their respective Head Offices agreeing to close the facility. I like the idea of an additional off-site position such as the Co-Op, but as I often find with the cash point machines outside Morrisions, very often all three are simultaneously out of action.

The onus must be to enforce proper parking restrictions. People have got away with it for so long now, they really don’t think they’re doing anything wrong any more.

And it's not just traffic build up that's a problem. These illegally parked vehicles drive high up onto the pavement to leave room for traffic to get by, leaving no room for pedestrians! I remember trying to squeeze past them with pushchairs and toddlers in tow and more than once had to run the gauntlet and go around them into the road.

Let’s really blitz these annoying offenders with a ticketing campaign and change their mindset.
Posts: 2
Candid Camera
Reply #4 on : Fri March 25, 2011, 10:43:45
I agree Mandy. I'm just not confident that our police have the resources to do the work as it needs to be done. I'm not saying that they are rubbish at their work. I just think that they are overstretched.

Maybe our police contact could advise us what would happen if members of the public took pictures of the offending vehicles that were either date stamped or sent in with an accompanying letter.

Maybe they could allow us to download an acceptable (short simple) form that we could fill in, or even better e-mail with an attached image.

If they were willing to act and prosecute/find the offenders that could make a difference.

I'm all for people power.

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