Reader's Letter: Will a cyclist have to die, or be seriously injured before action is taken?

Back on the 3rd of August I sent in a Reader's Letter and a photo, showing dangerous parking opposite the Coach and Four and asked if a cyclist had to die, or be seriously injured, before action was taken.

This kicked off quite a storm of opinions, on Facebook and elsewhere and prompted a piece on this website: https://bit.ly/2yaTr5t. As far as I can tell, since then, nothing tangible has happened on the ground.

Yesterday I walked to Wilmslow station and back and took a couple of photos as I was passing (I didn't wait for these to happen, they were just as a walked there, tractor photo, and back, truck photo, from the station.

I repeat my question; will a cyclist have to die, or be seriously injured before action is taken?

The black car (in both photos) was at the end of a line of parked cars - how can this not be considered an obstruction?

It has been suggested that, as a temporary fix, Cheshire East Council could simply put some no-parking cones out, while they get their act together with surveys, or whatever. How difficult could that be?

The third photo was taken a few days ago and shows what happens when cones are put out - the problem immediately goes away; these four cones have been put in place by the management of the Chapelwood deveopment, because their residents cannot see clearly enough to make a safe exit onto Alderley Road. Simple, no? Too simple for Cheshire East Council, apparently.

Tags:
Alderley Road, Reader's Letter
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Comments

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

Pete Taylor
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 9:00 am
I have been informed this morning that the Community Support Officer has been spotted in the last few days ticketing some vehicles causing dangerous obstruction.
Howard Piltz
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 10:13 am
Cheshire East Council and Cheshire Police have both failed miserably over this issue and deserve condemnation. I gather the Police are able to put cones out if the see fit................

An initiative to return Wilmslow and its neighbours Alderley Edge and Handforth to local control would attract huge support.
Jerry Dixon
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 12:57 pm
I've just (carefully) cycled past these cars. Unfortunately, no tickets in sight Pete.
What does stagger me is that cars are parked there at 8am on Saturdays. There can be no excuse that there are no paid parking space available then. I do wonder whether these cars are owned by office workers who are seen in large numbers spending small fortunes on coffees and lunches but won't spend £3 on parking.
If the management at Chapelwood can put out cones, why not our local police?
Jon Newell
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 1:32 pm
The Community and Order Committee of WTC meet at 6.45 pm in 15 October at the United Reform Church. This is a public meeting and non WTC counsellors can ask questions. The Police have been invited and are expected to attend.
Residents of Wilmslow will have represtatives in attendance and will be seeking explanations from the Police as to why they are the only residents of the area who do not recognise this as an “obstruction” and fail to enforce the law. Anyone with an interest should take this opportunity to attend and make their views known.
The arguments about parking and the passing of the buck from Police to CEC and back have been well covered on these pages.
We all know the issue and recognise there is no easy short term solution.
However, this does not explain why the Police refuse to enforce the law as it stands.
The obstructive parking is, as stated, a safety issue as well as a traffic flow issue.
It was reported in the MEN last month that GMP are dealing with similar issues in Stockport with tow trucks.
Dale Longworth
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 2:09 pm
I think if a few wing mirrors got smashed these people might think twice about parking there. Just saying.
Diane Walker
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 6:35 pm
We all know that CEC are the absolute pits! If a cyclist, or a pedestrian, gets knocked over, or worse killed, CEC and the police will probably act immediately.....so tell me, why can't they act now, BEFORE anyone gets killed?!! Typical shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted scenario is what we will see before long...
Iain Macfarlane
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 6:43 pm
It's not just cyclists who are at risk on this stretch of Alderley Road - I have seen several incidents of mums pushing prams and pedestrians walking along the pavement with vehicles just missing them as these cars squeeze past - the first picture clearly shows this. Some of these drivers are looking to their right at oncoming vehicles and cannot be fully concentrating on their left side where the pavement is. This is a dangerous, crazy situation - when is the council going to do something? Permanent yellow lines are needed, fast.
Stuart Redgard
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 8:10 pm
Let me be clear from the start. I too am concerned by the issue of vehicles parking on Alderley Road. However, I have to suggest that most (but not all,) vehicles that park along this stretch of road are usually parked perfectly legally.

Why? Because there is currently no form of parking restriction that can be enforced other than those addressed by the Highway Code. The Highway Code in itself is not enforceable. Only the laws which it refers to are enforceable and it is the responsibility of Cheshire Police to enforce them.

Link to highway code = https://bit.ly/20tpPKC


So which sections of the Highway code can the police use to enforce parking restrictions.

Rule 242
You MUST NOT leave your vehicle or trailer in a dangerous position or where it causes any unnecessary obstruction of the road.
Laws RTA 1988 sect 22 & CUR reg 103

Rule 243
DO NOT stop or park:
• opposite or within 10 metres (32 feet) of a junction, except in an authorised parking space.


So why does it seem like the police are not enforcing these rules.

Because individual police officers and PCSO’s are allowed to use their own discretion on when and how to interpret the requirements of the law.

If you actually want to try and get something done and not just rant on this forum then can I suggest you all do the following.

1) Contact Cllr Martin Watkins of Wilmslow Town Council and ask him to raise this issue the next time he attends the Police Focus Group, and the Road Safety Group.

2) Contact the following Cheshire East Councillors and ask them what they are doing about it.
Cllr Gary Barton (Wilmslow West & Chorley)
Cllr Elie Brooks (Wilmslow West & Chorley)
Cllr Rod Menlove (Wilmslow East)

3) Contact Cllr Don Stockton ( Portfolio holder for highways at CEC) and ask him what he is doing about it.

4) Contact Rt Hon Esther McVey MP and ask her what she is doing about it.

5) Contact the Policing & Crime Commissioner for Cheshire ask him why the Police do not appear to be addressing this issue seriously.

I will be doing this in the next 24 hours.

Then let’s all post what each an every-one of them says.

Otherwise just keep on ranting and don’t expect anything to happen.
Pete Taylor
Thursday 11th October 2018 at 9:16 pm
Thanks for adding your rant Stuart. ;-)

Three of the four Cllrs you mention have been in Purdah for some months; one of them has good reason and we extend our sympathy. The other two have no excuse.

Judging by the BBC national news this evening, our MP has her own lonely furrow to plough, as the rest of those involved make their excuses and leave.
Marcia McGrail
Saturday 13th October 2018 at 7:16 am
In answer to your question -- Yes.
Michelle Bell
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 7:31 pm
To highlight the seriousness of the problem that is caused by parking legally on this stretch of road,they should organise local people to park legally on the opposite side of the road. Then maybe someone at East Cheshire Council will authorise the painting of double yellow lines both sides the full length of this road. I would happily park my car to highlight the problem.
David Smith
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 7:42 pm
Ages ago, I went to Wilmslow Police station and complained about this parking. I suggested these vehicles were causing an obstruction. The view from the 'other side of the reinforced glass window' was that no obstruction was being caused. Not sure why but perhaps because cars could still pass, after a fashion. I think the poor ineffective person was confusing an 'obstruction' with a 'blockage'. Some of the corners of the roads in this 'hot-spot' have double yellow lines around them but others do not. Despite it being an offence (apparently - or is it?) to park within 10 metres of a junction, nothing is being done by the police to ticket those who do not follow this advice on these corners without yellow lines. I also don’t think the double yellow lines look like they stretch for 10 metres.
Further along the road near the right turn into the Sainsbury's car park there are two lanes. One is marked as 'ahead' and the other as 'right turn'. Yet cars still park in the lane that is marked 'ahead'. The lanes approaching the traffic lights by the Rex and in the direction of Alderley Edge are marked the same - 'ahead' and ' right turn'. These lanes are reinforced with double yellow lines to make it obvious that it would be rather stupid to park here because doing so would CAUSE AN OBSTRUCTION! Yet this is exactly what is happening by Sainsbury's but because there are no double yellow lines it somehow seems ok to leave your car there all day. If there were no yellow lines by the Rex traffic lights there would be nothing to prevent anyone parking there all day. It would therefore appear to be the norm that you can park wherever you like as long as there are no double yellow lines. Parking in a lane that is designated by a white arrow says to me that this lane is ONLY for that purpose and designated as such to promote free and orderly movement of traffic in a part of a road that has been purposely laid out with TWO lanes so that there will not be an OBSTRUCTION if traffic is reduced to a single lane that is waiting to turn right. If it is ok to park in the lane that is marked as AHEAD it should therefore be acceptable to park in the lane that is marked as RIGHT TURN. The logic is the same - two lanes marked for traffic flow management should be kept for that purpose and so both operate equally in that respect. If it is ok to change the purpose of one lane into a parking space, it should be ok to do the same to the other lane even though this would be in the middle of the road. Crazy, I know, but not as crazy as our police, council and idiot councillors (both town and Cheshire East) who are impotent to do anything that makes sense. If they haven’t got a law to do something about it - they should get one and PDQ!
Robert Kemp
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 10:13 pm
The same problem is now appearing along Altrincham Road between Bourne Street and Buckingam Road. Cars are parking there for the day usually with two wheels up on the pavement. Surely that in itself is an offence? Together with all the parental parking outside the primary school at drop off and pickup times, it is only a matter of when and not if before there is a serious accident.
Gary Parker
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 10:49 pm
This situation seems to have been going on for sometime now.

Common sense tells that the parking situation on this road is a potential dangerous risk to members of our community which needs to be addressed.

There appears to be no leadership or acceptance of responsibility for addressing this (to my mind, relatively simple) matter.

I suggest that "no parking" cones are put in place immediately on this stretch of road and anyone defying them fined. Subsequently a review should be quickly taken of the usage of all current public car parks in Wilmslow - some from personal observation - are clearly not utilised fully and a view taken if some can be parked in without a charge. This could be on a trial basis to begin with.

Come on Chester East Councillors and Officers - please do the jobs you were elected and employed to do.
Sarah Kennon
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 11:05 pm
Totally agree with David Smith. The police and councilors are totally ineffectual. There is now parking down Knutsford Road and in the old bus stop opposite Travis Perkins. Where do the drivers of thes cars work?
David Smith
Wednesday 17th October 2018 at 11:12 pm
Further to my previous posting: the part of Manchester Road near Styal Road has seen parked cars blocking the cycle lane, taking up some of the pavement and reducing the visibility of residents exiting their drives and onto the road.
The Highway Code mentions the following in the section on parking at night:
Rule 249
All vehicles MUST display parking lights when parked on a road or a lay-by on a road with a speed limit greater than 30 mph (48 km/h) and makes reference to the LAW that is broken if lights are not displayed at the link:
Law RVLR reg 24
If night is defined as ‘after sunset’ then these vehicles will be BREAKING THE LAW if they are parked without sidelights on Manchester Road, where the speed limit is 40mph, after the hour of sunset - which in mid December is as soon as 1551hrs. The definition of ‘night’ in aviation is from 30 minutes after sunset, so using this definition side lights MUST be displayed after 1621hrs. As most vehicles are parked on Manchester Road until their owners retrieve them after finishing work at 1700hrs and then walking to collect their vehicles, they could be left there without parking lights - and so breaking the law - until about 1730hrs, which is a good hour when they can be booked under the existing law. Some vehicles are left much longer than this.
Have any been booked for this offence? I doubt it. Will the police now do so? I doubt that too. So yet again we have rules and laws that some people think don’t apply to them - only to the other fools that seem to think they should live by them!
John Mills
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 7:01 am
When will we get the results of the ‘traffic survey’ which was conducted over a month ago.? Yet another delaying tactic and a reason to do nothing. You don’t need to be A genius to buy some yellow paint and and a paint brush and sort this problem.
David Smith
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 8:05 am
I would also like to reinforce the following message:
We will all, in Wilmslow, soon have local elections for our councillors - you know the ones that we keep moaning about who don't seem capable of dealing with simple things like this parking problem that is clogging up our town and life. I would like to remind everyone that local elections are detached from national politics where the flavour at the moment is all about Brexit. There are always individuals who make connections with national politics and advise us to apply national sentiment when choosing who to vote for in our local elections. Voters in this area being strongly Conservative when it comes to a National Election seem to think that they should also vote Conservative in our local elections. These ‘died in the wool’ Conservatives would NEVER admit to voting in ANY election for a party other than Conservative, which is why we have been lumbered with the same management of Conservative councillor mentality for so long. This simple issue of parking in our town should be the catalyst that finally wakes everyone up and makes them vote for any other party so we can have a change. If we don’t like what the new councillors get up to we can vote them out too next time round. Please note I have left it to the reader to decide which ‘other’ councillor they would like to vote for and made no recommendation. Please discuss this with your family, neighbours and friends.
Rod Menlove
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 11:29 am
I am told that receipt of the Parking Survey Report by the portfolio holder is expected this month which will be followed by a meeting of CEC ward members for a discussion of the Survey's findings at which the feelings of residents will be made very clear.
Separately, I have been in contact with the office of the Police & Crime Commissioner for him to visit Wilmslow and as the elected representative see first hand the deficiencies of the policies under which the local police operate. I have a commitment that this will be before the end of November with a date and time yet to be confirmed.
Randal MacRandal
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 11:40 am
Wow. This one hit a nerve didn't it ?
Big volume of local opinion like this ought not to go ignored. I've not long lived in Wilmslow
but I do recall prior to the move from WA14 that, when visiting the town, parking was a major
pain in the neck with long stay parking often without room for any more vehicles.
I believe it has improved slightly for shorter term parking but - like being asked to pay 5p for a plastic bag - human nature says no thanks I'll find my own free bag - or parking spot [while I'm at work].
It is the same in Altrincham where I came from. The only fix is less cars on the road or more carparks.
Toni Fox
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 3:14 pm
This is very welcome news from Councillor Menlove that the portfolio holder will receive a report this month.

This however means that the Council is still many, many months way away from offering any solution to the issues and concerns surrounding parking on Alderley Road.

As such I sent my third email to Rachel Bailey, Leader of the Council, and covering Portfolio Holder for Highways yesterday, once again asking for her assistance on this specific matter.

“OPEN LETTER

Dear Rachel,

Given the significant amount of concern raised by residents, Wilmslow Town Council and fellow Wilmslow Ward Councillors it is disappointing that I have not received an acknowledgement, or response, to my email of 27th September.

Whilst I appreciate that you are only covering for the Portfolio Holder, in his absence, and as Leader of the Council, I would be grateful if you could advise if you are able to assist with this matter as a separate issue from the car parking survey undertaken.

I understand from Richard Hibbert that he is still waiting to be informed of when the Baseline report from the car parking survey undertaken in Wilmslow will be available. It will therefore clearly be some time before residents see any improvement to the current car parking situation.

I would also be grateful if you could advise why Enforcement officers do not appear to be acting in accordance with Cheshire East Council’s 2017 High Level Parking Strategy on the main thoroughfare through Wilmslow town centre?

Point 5. Enforcement Action is clear of the measures that will be taken which include

“Taking action when unlawful or inconsiderate parking stops traffic (or the free flowing movement of traffic)

Taking action where the unlawful or inconsiderate parking is dangerous

Taking action where emergency vehicles are prevented from travelling along a road”

https://moderngov.cheshireeast.gov.uk/documents/s62470/Local%20Transport%20Plan%20Refresh%20-%20app%204a.pdf

I would appreciate your response as a matter of urgency.”

I will inform Wilmslow.co.uk if I get a response.

Councillor Toni Fox
Independent
Dean Row Ward, Wilmslow
Pete Taylor
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 3:33 pm
Still no comment here from the two elected representatives from the ward (Wilmslow West and Chorley) where the problem parking is actually situated. Not good enough; resign now.


@David Smith; thanks for commenting- your contribution from 17th re Manchester Rd is spot -on! Regarding your post from the 18th; many of the people involved in Residents of Wilmslow, our local independent, non-party group, are life-long Conservatives who have become totally fed-up with the current shower, who toe the Party-line at every opportunity, rather than voting how their electorate wish.


Residents of Wilmslow, people before Party.
June Bailey
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 4:26 pm
It isnt just cyclists at risk. I witnessed a man walking towards the Coach & Four,he was on the pavement & had to literally jump into the hedge as a huge HGV mounted the kerb in order to get by. I dont think the HGV driver saw the man as he was concentrating on getting his vehicle past the parked cars. Who in their right mind thinks its ok to park there and cause such dangerous chaos.These people need to see the hassle they are causing the commuters on a daily basis. Get your hands in your pockets and pay for safe parking like the rest of us have to, or if local and able to then walk, as I do,its usually quicker these days!!... moan over.... Maybe local residents could think about "renting" out their drives to people who work in Wilmslow, I have used "Just Park" when I stayed in Blackpool recently. You book online and pay to park on someones drive, cold work out cheaper to park for people who have to pay for parking all day plus your car will be in a safe place........ just a thought......
Jon Newell
Thursday 18th October 2018 at 4:53 pm
Having heard the police response on Monday night at the WTC meeting and the committee meeting which preceded it, I thought I would share it. I do have some sympathy with the police because they just do not have the resource to provide the currently needed 14 hour enforcement and it seems they struggle to engage CEC is meaningful discussions which are not focussed on kicking the issue into the long grass. This was my interpretation of the police responses, not a direct quote from the police representatives.

In summary, the police do not consider it dangerous, and are therefore unable to act, unless it is very busy. As soon as the road becomes quiet, as it must for at least a few minutes in every hour, their ability to act falls away and the parkers may return.

They do not accept that a position which is dangerous for most of the time is dangerous within the definition which allows them to act. It must be dangerous all of the time if they are going to act. They also confirmed that if the parking prevents two way traffic from keeping moving and having the give way to each other - including buses and lorries - then "responsible driving" is the answer. It is not, technically, an obstruction. It just means that a road designed for two way traffic with only one lane passable should be responded to by considerate driving.

In other words, the Police's hands are effectively tied and the CEC response is needed.

The lack of respons that Toni details above is mirrored by the lack of response to the chairman of WTC. I was actually impressed by the WTC chair's display of controlled anger and the articulate manner in which it was expressed.

I don't know Rachel Bailey but it seems clear that she is either completely out of her depth or is up there as a contender for the rudest person in Cheshire East. Ignoring both an elected CEC councillor and the elected chair of WTC is just unacceptable. She needs to be reminded that local government can not exist unless it engages with the local community.

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