The Committee received a report of the Corporate Director of Regeneration, Economy and Growth that advised of the proposed changes to the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) in Annfield Plain (for copy see file of Minutes).
The Traffic Management Section Manager gave a detailed presentation that highlighted the proposed restrictions on West Road, which included:-
· To introduce ‘no waiting at any time’ restrictions on both sides of the carriageway for the nearby businesses and residents.
· To change a small section of existing ‘no waiting at any time’ to ‘School Keep Clear’ markings outside of the entrance to Greencroft Community School.
· To formalise the current lining in this location.
· The proposals are to address obstructive parking, to improve accessibility and visibility for both road users and pedestrians.
The Traffic Management Section Manager added that it was a busy section of carriageway with several business and schools. Visibility for road users and pedestrians and access for pedestrians along the footway had been impacted, forcing wheelchairs users and those with pushchairs onto the carriageway. He added that road safety had to be a primary concern and appreciated that is people were stopped from parking in place then they would move on to park elsewhere. However, where vehicles were parking along the carriageway and footway reduced visibility and obstructed pedestrians from using the footway.
Following the advert of the proposal one objection was received from a local business owner during the informal consultation. This objection still stood despite amendments to the original proposal.
The Chair invited representations from the local member present.
Councillor C Bell said that it was really bad for people who could not walk safely along the path and for those on their way to school or to their homes. A number of disabled people travelled along that footpath to the special needs school or elderly people trying to access their home. She was concerned that this was an accident waiting to happen and had caused considerable anxiety for residents. She suggested that there was a car park available, which although was a distance to walk, could still be utilised.
The Chair invited Mr Marshall, who was objecting to the proposal to make his representations.
Mr Marshall said that it was difficult when people were only aware of one side of the story. He stressed that he always leaves enough room for people passing in wheelchairs and pushchairs. He said that he was trying to survive as a local business and knew his community very well, carrying out food drives, food banks, soup kitchens and did a lot for the area. He said that he always offered to move vehicles if they were an obstruction and for a time he was parking vehicles on a grassed area. Residents also used this grassed area together with those attending football training from the school. Residents were in favour of this and had even asked him to park further along the grassed area. Following a visit from highways officers he was informed that he could not park on the grass and had to park on the road. He had been cutting the grassed area to keep it tidy and had asked if the area could be rented. He stressed that no one uses the grassed area but it has since been fenced off. Mr Marshall believed the problems started when he arranged a scare wash for Halloween last year which had gone out of control attracting a lot of vehicles. He now has a booking system in place to alleviate that issue. He was aware that wheelchairs could get passed the vehicles and had scratched some of the cars parked there, and said that a double buggy could also pass. Mr Marshall said that he would like to be able to use his business as he wanted to so that he could invest back into the local community.
The Traffic Management Section Manager commented that they could not condone someone driving over a footway to access the grassed area and that people should park in a designated area.
The chair asked how far away the car park in question was and the local member advised that it was not that far.
The chair moved on and asked for questions and comments from the committee members.
Councillor Sterling said that she knew the area very well and had sympathy with the objector, as a business owner herself in these very tough times. She did confirm that no one used the grassed area in question but agreed that this was not a car park. She believed that there were too many cars parked along the carriageway which was unsightly and suggested that if a wheelchair user had scratched a vehicle suggested that there was not enough space to get passed. She was concerned about the special needs children being able to safely get to school and the elderly and infirm people who lived in the bungalows being able to access the footpath. She concluded that there were too many vehicles for the business but did comment that the car park mentioned was too far away.
Councillor Sterling moved and Councillor Howey seconded the recommendation.
Upon a vote being taken it was
Resolved: That the proposal in principle to proceed with the implementation of the Annfield Plain Parking and Waiting Restrictions Order 2021, with the final decision to be made by the Corporate Director under delegated powers, be endorsed.