Concerns over pavement parking and the obstruction problems that causes for certain Island residents was brought as a motion to the full council by the cabinet member for infrastructure and transport, Councillor Ian Ward, earlier this week.
It was calling for powers currently held by the police to be transferred to the council so pavement parking can be dealt with locally, by parking enforcement officers, and action actually taken.
Cllr Adrian Axford told the meeting about his son, who has been a wheelchair his whole life and the struggles he has faced travelling around Ryde — first with the lack of dropped kerbs and now with vehicles making it impossible to pass by on the pavement. He said:
“After a lot of fighting we were able to get some [dropped kerbs] so he was able to go out on his own which gave him a tremendous feeling of independence.
“Suddenly, he tries to go out now and someone is parked on the pavement — it is not so bad going out but on his way home he cannot get passed vehicles, he cannot get home.”
Cllr Axford also said the issue of pavement parking stops those visually impaired from going out, increasing their isolation.
Although, some councillors raised concerns that even if the powers are given to the local authority there is still no guarantee they will be used.
Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox said there are areas in her ward that if there was no pavement parking, there would be nowhere to park at all. She said:
“We need to make provisions if we are going to bring this in … while I support the obstruction enforcement powers, there is a lot of work that needs to be done with Island Roads about allowing people to park in their front gardens, looking at how it is going to be done and where the displacement of parking will go.”
Cllr Ward said they were not asking for a blanket ban of pavement parking but enforcement powers to deal with obstructive parking, and discretionary use. He gave the example of parking that was ‘blatantly’ breaking the rules but when council officers went to deal with the problem could not enforce any penalty as it fell into the jurisdiction of police powers.
Council leader, Cllr Dave Stewart, said it showed a ‘total lack of consideration for others’ and will now write a letter to the relevant government minister to get the approval of the transition of power.