Doubts whether the Council is 'taking the severe parking issues across Wilmslow seriously'

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Local residents and one of our ward councillors have express concerns that Cheshire East Council is not taking the parking problems in Wilmslow seriously and that it may take several years to address the problem.

As many readers will be aware cars have now started parking along Alderley Road, between the roundabout and the Coach and Four. As a result we have received a lot of complaints and comments from local residents who are concerned that this 'dangerous' parking will result in a cyclist or pedestrian getting seriously injured.

As a temporary measure the Council has arranged for motorists who are parking in Alderley Road to be offered parking spaces at Wilmslow High School for the remainder of the summer holidays.

Following the publication of a Reader's Letter on wilmslow.co.uk calling for double yellow lines to be installed from the Fulshaw Cross roundabout to Victoria Road, Cheshire East Council has confirmed to one of our readers that they will not implementing any further parking restrictions until a parking strategy for Wilmslow is published.

A spokesperson for Cheshire East Council said "The Council has developed a series of profiles and is currently examining evidence, key issues and opportunities for each area as part of the Local Transport Plan (LTP). A parking study for the Wilmslow are will be undertaken as part of this plan. A public consultation took place on the LTP between 1st May - 25th June 2018 and at present we are analysing the information gathered during the consultation. Further information can be found on our webpage.

"The data collection for the study will be completed this year with the town strategy being developed thereafter. Until this is published we are not implementing further parking restrictions, unless there is an overwhelming evidence-led requirement. This will be based on police collision reports and other sources of traffic data."

Councillor Toni Fox also contacted Cheshire East Council about the parking issue on Alderley Road after local residents approached her about the issue.

Earlier this month, a Cheshire East Council spokesman said: "In line with the recent local transport plan consultation, it is the council's intention to undertake place based parking studies, to understand issues and develop and implement plans for each location.

"This will be an evidence-based approach designed to balance and manage the accessibility requirements for residents, businesses, shoppers, workers and commuters. The proposal is to deliver this work in a three year programme, starting in Wilmslow, once funding is available."

Cllr Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council, wrote to Toni Fox saying "Further to the press statement (above), we are working with partners to progress the start of the survey and we will explore all options to help residents within the town."

Councillor Toni Fox said "Unfortunately a 'three year programme' starting 'once funding is available' is not going to help motorists or re-assure residents that Cheshire East Council is taking the severe parking issues across Wilmslow seriously."

The campaign group Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) has also written to Cllr Rachael Bailey asking for a prompt solution to the parking problem along the stretch of road from the Kings Arms roundabout along to the entrance to Sainsbury's and calling for temporary action to be taken.

Cllr Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council, replied to RoW on August 8th saying "Cllr Menlove and Cllr Brooks have both raised this matter with me. Further to the press statement below, we are working with partners to progress the start of the survey and we will explore all options to help residents within the town."

Manuel Golding of RoW said "Alderley Road is a matter of extreme urgency that requires immediate action to avoid continuing traffic snarl ups and danger to road users, pedestrians and cyclists.

"RoW was assured some two and a half tears ago there was a Wilmslow parking survey overseen by the then Deputy Leader, David Brown, when RoW asked Rachel Bailey how that was progressing she and Kath O'Dwyer both knew nothing about it.

"We were then promised a second survey under Don Stockton and again Rachel Bailey told RoW she was not aware and now we are supposedly on yet another (phantom) survey.

"We need action now on Alderley Road, not in 6 or 9 or 18 months hence."

He added "How difficult can it be for the council to instigate either a 'temporary' or 'emergency' restriction order for this road? How willing is the council to consider voters concerns now? If it doesn't act now, without any further delay, we will know just how inept and non caring this council's leadership is."

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Comments

Here's what readers have had to say so far. Why not add your thoughts below.

Howard Piltz
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 3:19 pm
Cllr Rachel Bailey may well have answered comments by two local representatives but has not had the courtesy of responding to my THREE emails, behaviour I find utterley intolerable. The tone of Council responses to the great many cries for double yellow lines is nothing better than obfuscation particularly as there have been few issues lately in Wilmslow that have caused so much discontent and all councillors in the area should really be watching their backs in next May's local elections.
Clive Griffiths
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 3:22 pm
This is the tip of the iceberg. We should certainly have double yellow lines here But I must say where there are parking restrictions ( such as Waitrose Bank of Scotland ) they are never enforced and abused regularly without penalty .

Without enforcement any restriction is useless.
John Fallows
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 3:37 pm
Cannot these motorists parking inconsiderately and dangerously be prosecuted under the existing Highway code legislation. They are clearly committing a criminal offence if I understand this correctly?

Surely some suitable warnings followed by one or two prosecutions would resolve the issue fairly swiftly.

INTRODUCTION TO THE HIGHWAY CODE:
Many of the rules in the Code are legal requirements, and if you disobey these rules you are committing a criminal offence. You may be fined, given penalty points on your licence or be disqualified from driving. In the most serious cases you may be sent to prison. Such rules are identified by the use of the words ‘MUST/MUST NOT’. In addition, the rule includes an abbreviated reference to the legislation which creates the offence. See an explanation of the abbreviations.

RULE 242
You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.

Having said that the parking in WIlmslow is in dire need of resolution but dangerous parking on A major road is not it.
Sheila Hallas
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 4:40 pm
Will somebody please explain why the Police cannot prosecute for obstruction ?
The Highway Code says you cannot park within so many feet of a junction.
So prosecute the regulars who park all day from the Kings Arms roundabout to the Coach and Four.
In the long term, the current Long Stay car park probably needs to double upwards. Not a pretty sight, but softened with landscaping.
Cheshire East seem hidebound by reviews/surveys, incapable of any meaningful action.
Desmond Williams
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 4:41 pm
The parking in Alderley Road highlighted in comments is dangerous for pedestrians and vehicles going towards Alderley,just a matter of time when someone will be injured or worse ACTION needed NOW.
Buster Wild
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 5:17 pm
The council is elected to respond to the needs and requests of the ratepayers and residents of East Cheshire and Wilmslow. I am certain the councillors think it is the other way round and we should pander to their needs. The road near the Coach and Four is now one-way traffic most of the day and it is only a matter of time before someone is seriously injured. Will the council accept the blame, as they have been forewarned, will they be personally liable for compensation and damages.
Manuel Golding
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 5:41 pm
I really do not wish to repeat myself re my posting on Monday, the 20th below Lisa's article "Temporary Solution to Alderley Road parking Problem" of the 17th.
Residents of Wilmslow still has not had the courtesy of a response from the Council Leader to our letter to her of the 9th. The Leaders's earlier letter to RoW of the 8th, in which she went to great pains to state that two of her CE Conservative Wilmslow councillors had raised this issue with her, is purely a subterfuge to allay credit from RoWs long term efforts to have the town saved from drowning under the tide of ever more indiscriminate & uncaring parking by commuter visitors.
The concern by the Leadership of the Alderley Road issue can best be judged by the total absence of a reply. The silence is deafening. The lack of a prompt & sustainable solution,i.e.action, tells us all we, the Wilmslow voters, need to know about the Conservative party at Sandbach. It is not a question of money, it is a question of a prompt, no cost,resolution - erect along the pavement No Waiting signs, supported by parking tickets, either police or warden tickets or both. At the same time, similar temporary parking restriction signs should be placed on all the roads leading to the town centre (roads off Water Ln/Altrincham Rd area, Knutsford Rd/Gravel Ln/Stockton Rd/Chesham Rd area, Pownall Pk area,all roads off Manchester Rd, etc) until such time as full & compliant legislation is approved. The town is sinking under a daily deluge of commuter parked cars.
Now is not the time to resort to time wasting excuses to do nothing, as the council always seem to prefer. King Canute didn't turn the tide back by simply sitting time wasting. Action is needed now.
Where will the commuters park? Don't know but not in the face of residents in their own homes. Perhaps employers should arrange a joint collective transport package that allows residents to park near or in front of their own homes and not becoming refugees from their roads.
Will we see prompt action from Cllr Bailey, Cllr Arnold, Cllr Stockton & the rest of Wilmslow's CE Conservative councillors? My educated guess is that we will see nothing positive for at least 18 to 24 months.
Which tells us they simply could not care less.
Remember the inept Conservatives' attitude next May.The time is fast approaching for that opportunity to "kick em out" in May 2019, when RoW will be fielding independent minded, non party, RoW candidates. RoW will be working for Wilmslow's voters, not for the Conservative Party as we have seen for far too many years.
Julian Barlow
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 6:15 pm
The Council have a vested interested in Pontificating over this issue for as long possible whist they continue to allow the rampant over development of our town, with no supporting infrastructure whatsoever.

We do not a constant stream of consultations, partnerships, initiatives or "place based parking studies" whatever they might be. We just need someone with eyes, a spine and a sense of urgency.
Jon Newell
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 6:18 pm
I see from today’s Manchester Evening News on line that GMP today issued a fine against a motorist who parked on a pavement in Cheadle Hulme. When the driver was confirmed to be not local and impossible to contact, the car was towed away.
The Police sspokesman said that, following complaints from locals that they could not use the pavement, action was taken to resolve an intolerable situation. I know London laws are different but Cheadle Hulme is the same as Wilmslow. We don’t need to do anything except impose the laws we already have.
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 6:23 pm
Having received an enquiry from a neighbour some months ago I, as a Neighbourhood Watch Co-ordinator, (and having myself witnessed a very near miss) e-mailed the local Police Sergeant; who replied suggesting that they could only act in cases of footpath obstruction and that I should contact CEC requesting yellow lines; then the local Traffic Wardens would be able to take action. He said that he would put his PCSO on the case. Here are the emails which followed, between myself and the PCSO James Morris:



On 5/16/2018 4:59 PM, James Morris wrote:

Hello, Peter

Sgt John O’Driscoll has informed me of your concerns over parking on Alderley Road and Knutsford Road.

As explained, police can only enforce obstructions: on the pavement, this is classed as failing to leave room for a wheelchair or double-buggy to pass.

I have patrolled the roads numerous times over the past couple of weeks and have issued several notices to vehicles obstructing the pavement, advising the drivers of their responsibilities when parking. I will continue to patrol the area in the future.

As parking in Wilmslow is a long-term issue, it is the responsibility of the local authority to implement permanent parking solutions such as yellow lines (or, ideally, more parking.) It may therefore be advisable to contact the council with your concerns.
Kind regards,
James
James Morris PCSO 22573 – Wilmslow West and Chorley, Wilmslow beat team

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
01/06/2018
To: James Morris
Subject: Re: Pavement obstruction, Wilmslow ~[OFFICIAL]~

James,
I walked into Wilmslow this morning and saw that the bus trying to emerge from Chapel Lane onto Alderley Road was having extreme difficulty in turning out, due to a vehicle parking right on the corner. This seems to be the norm these days, perhaps because many drivers are not aware of Highway Code rule 243 "Do not stop or park opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction except in an authorised parking space".

With this rule in mind I'm sure that you would be able to go along and slap tickets on several windscreens every single day.
Best Regards,
Pete.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

04/06/2018
Hello, Pete
Wording of the Highway Code means that only rules labelled as “must not” constitute offences in their own right. All other wording, including “do not”, is advisory. Therefore, although officers may take such advise into consideration when considering whether an obstruction has been committed, parking with 10 metres of a junction is not necessarily an offence.
I have issued 2 advisory notices for obstruction of the pavement this afternoon and will continue to patrol the area in the future.
Kind regards,
James
-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, folks, there we have it. What I find really disappointing (although not unexpected), is that not one of the Ward Councillors have commented, either here or, as far as I can tell, on any other Social Media; although the Father of one of them, speaking about the idiotic two-week High School "temporary solution" did have this to say here "Strikes me this is an excellent quick fix".

Incidentally, there has been a pretty huge discussion of this subject on the Wilmslow.co Facebook page.
Nick Jones
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 6:34 pm
@ Pete.. The Highway code is not the law, its a code, guidance rule of the road.... The Road Traffic Act deals with Obstruction and Law Enforcement Agencies ... well dare i say should enforce. I wonder how many emergency services vehicles have been impeded here ?.. Obfuscation and Delay are no solution.
Rod Menlove
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 6:46 pm
“Not one of the Ward Cllrs has commented”

Apart from the article of 17 August?
Pete Taylor
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 7:41 pm
Thanks Cllr Menlove but the side of Alderley Road in question is not in your Ward, if the CEC map is to be believed.
Richard Armstead
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 7:42 pm
The election season has arrived early.
Stephen Hughes
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 7:46 pm
I cannot believe that it ‘could take years’ to sort this problem out.
Has anyone from the Council seen the problem? Issues within the Borough must arise all the time that need immediate action. This is one of them.
Just paint the double yellow lines now, and talk about it later.
Nik Eastwood
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 8:16 pm
it needs to be traffic wardens issuing notices on bad parking, we need the police for more important matters.

the parking issue in wilmslow doesnt affect me any more, its easier to go to handforth, wythenshawe, cheadle or cheadle hulme, I am sure they will be glad of my money.

cant wait for the local elections next year.
Ed Slater
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 8:34 pm
I gave up posting to Wilmslow Police on Facebook and making daily calls to 101 to report cars parked on the pavement. They believed that you could get past in a wheelchair, or with a double buggy, and that was that. They passed the hot potato of responsibility to Cheshire East Council.
Cutting the bus services back so much, the 130 in particular, isn't helping the parking issues in Wilmslow.
This is 'Pass the Buck Britain' of today. Nobody seems to care except for us, the residents.
Is anybody listening???
Diane Walker
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 10:23 pm
I really don't feel there's any point commenting on this problem any more! Our inept Council are just making excuse after excuse for doing bugger all! Let's just see what happens when there is a serious accident, or worse still, one of the emergency services can't get through and someone loses their life!
Mark Toombs
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 10:48 pm
Well there is a simple answer to all this which can be sorted May 2019

Simple don’t help,don’t offer to help vote to the person that has the guts to tackle this issue

An election for all Cheshire East Borough seats (if contested) will be held on Thursday 2 May 2019.

Elections will be held for all Parish and Town council seats (if contested) on Thursday 2 May 2019.
Rick Andrews
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 10:57 pm
Surely the fact that there are road markings for 2 lanes of traffic heading towards the centre or turning right means that parked vehicles are causing an obstruction to one of these lanes and the police can impose a fine. In the meantime CEC continues to ignore Wilmslow problems whilst spending our council tax elsewhere They seem to be hell bent on destroying our town. And at the same time block plans for relocation of the BMW Mini business. Lets face it CEC has lost any semblance of logic and control.
Alan Butler
Wednesday 22nd August 2018 at 11:26 pm
Lisa's article on 17th August quoted councillor Menlove and his temporary solution. I think we can now conclude that it wasn't a success. I'd be interested to hear about the other short term solutions that were promised.

Councillor Brooks was also quoted: 'Local Conservative councillors have been working with the police and with departments within Cheshire East for several months now to address these problems for which we have now secured a high priority'. However, our local police have now made clear that they will act only in cases of obstructions to pavements and CEC are determined not to act in the short term, whatever the circumstances.

Our elected representatives appear to have no influence.
Dave Cash
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 1:14 am
CEC does not have any traffic wardens, only CEOs.
A permitted PCSO can ticket/arrange a tow for a vehicle causing a HIghway obstruction.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 6:59 am
Two dozen yellow “No Parking” cones could have sorted this problem out months ago.
Robert Taylor
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 8:33 am
Alternatives to bringing a car into Wilmslow do exist so bad parking can be eradicated through restrictions on main roads, pedestrianisation and introducing resident parking zones - if parking space is locked down these problems including congestion will go away.

High parking costs are good for long stay since this discourages using a car for work however there are too many free on-street alternatives as demonstrated. Parking at the high school or building a new car park is not the solution. There are Alternatives:-
1. Rail - 5 trains an hour towards Stockport and Manchester, 4 trains an hour towards and from Crewe.
2. Bus - bus services are dying because everyone uses cars! But ideal for trips of about two to four miles. And the town is served to airport, Knutsford and Macclesfield.
3. Cycle - most flexible up to four miles but people do not use because of the dangers from cars (and parked ones)!!
4. Walk - i reckon most likely these vehicles parked in the town during the day are from out of town but you might be surprised about where they come from - quite possibly from within Wilmslow (walkable) or Alderley (ride, bus, train).

Immediately the police and CEC need to sharpen their pencils and have a crack down on the dangerous cases.
John Fallows
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 8:39 am
Now that others, particularly Pete Taylor have commented can I just summarise my previous comment above (reinforced by the police response to Pete).

1. Highway code contravention IS an offence when rules state that motorist MUST NOT ...

2. RULE 242
You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.
Nick Jones
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 8:40 am
Common sense and Traffic cones ( as used for Artisan Market ) could resolve this in minutes..... So that wont happen !
Brian McGavin
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 11:51 am
So much been said on this and our Cheshire East/ Wilmslow Town Council do nothing except hide behind endless bureaucratic excuses to avoid simple actions that would solve the immediate problems. Why isn't our MP Esther Macvey knocking heads together to wake up the council, who seem intent on turning our precious greenbelt into development land to deliver a huge profit for developers while ignoring the infrastructure pressures it creates?

Over the last two years our town has turned into a parking free-for-all as day commuters discovered no action would be taken if they turned all the main roads to Wilmslow centre into linear car parks, obstructing through traffic, blocking cycle ways, parking on pavements and in residential roads. What a joke promoting cycleways that are impossible to use.
Do our representatives at Wilmslow Town Council not care what is happening?

It took over two years for residents along Manchester Road to get a meeting with Don Stockton, the highways councillor, to demand double yellow lines where people were parking on narrow access road corners and still the main road has no restrictions, making it difficult to see fast moving traffic when residents are pulling out from side roads. This is dangerous, yet the council merely waffles that they are in long-term reviews that need evidence and can't be hurried. The evidence is starring them in the face. Remember this when you think who to support in the local elections next May.
Robert Taylor
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 1:20 pm
In answer to the question above about why our MP is not taking action nor our ward members the simple fact is it is not on their agenda. These are neoliberal representatives and what we are facing here is another symptom of three and a half decades (nearing four) of a narrow short-sighted neoliberal approach shrinking the powers of local government.
Robert Taylor
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 1:24 pm
@Ed Slater - So that is two of us; there must be more!
Robert Taylor
Thursday 23rd August 2018 at 9:05 pm
@John Fallows I agree with your judgement on the Highway Code 'musts' are founded from the statute books and I agree more proactive action can be taken by Cheshire Police.
John Harries
Friday 24th August 2018 at 12:00 pm
Might as well throw in my five pennies worth.
Julian Barlow sums up the cause
"The Council have a vested interested in Pontificating over this issue for as long possible whist they continue to allow the rampant over development of our town, with no supporting infrastructure whatsoever"
That situation has been down to successive Cabinets whether in Chester, Macclesfield or Sandbach, I'm sorry to say predominately of a 'Blue' majority. Wilmslow borough was always going to be a nice juicy cash cow and it's still being raped.
There is no going back on some stuff but we can all do something about it come next May - a Kick em Out campaign, there are plenty of grounds for positive action for change. We must have a majority independent representation at local and County levels otherwise this debacle will continue. The CEC as an entity is utterly discredited - no need to roll out the multitude of examples across a range of their activities.

As to on-street parking - Alderley Road, Manchester Road wherever!
It is an RTA offence to drive on a pavement/footpath or obstruct a designated cycle lane (I am not a devout cyclist but I am a concerned and generally considerate citizen); if it's on a pavement/footpath in 99% of cases it's been driven there.
The police/PCSO's are choosing to ignore 'minor' infringements (as far as we are concerned they are far too busy travelling to and from Macclesfield to clock off/on the job) until something serious happens; PCSO O'Driscoll is applying some local directive when he quotes "failing to leave room for a wheelchair or double-buggy to pass".
It's a case of whether or not they prioritise parking/obstruction etc. above other issues - then it's all down to paperwork.
Clearly they do not want anything to do with 'parking' regardless of danger, safety and wellbeing of residents.
Pete Taylor
Friday 24th August 2018 at 12:22 pm
Same chaos as usual this morning, near misses, horn blowing...

And now the announcement of another 1500 houses at the proposed”garden village” in Handforth.

Time to say NO.

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