'Somebody is going to get killed or seriously hurt'

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Local residents and visitors to The Carrs, are becoming increasing exasperated and concerned about the dangerous and inconsiderate parking.

The pavement alongside Cliff Road is regularly blocked with parked cars forcing pedestrians, including parents with prams and young children, to walk on the road.

Robert Loveridge took the photo above at 3:30pm on Tuesday, 2nd June, after picking his 5-year-old my daughter up from school.

Robert said "I have called the Cheshire Police about this at The Carrs. If this isn't stopped somebody is going to get killed or seriously hurt. Please act."

Ruth Lees, of Friends of the Carrs, said "The parking on The Cliff has been atrocious and extremely dangerous. There have been numerous complaints on various Wilmslow FB groups and on Twitter with genuine concern for the safety of pedestrians. One of our committee members witnessed a family with a buggy having to carry their toddler in the middle of the road because there was absolutely no space on the pavement and from scanning through comments on various social media forums this seems be a common occurrence.

"Cars coming down Cliff Road from Styal Road are pretty much unsighted on the bend - so it's a recipe for disaster. We have also heard of altercations between pedestrians and drivers and problems in The Parish Hall car park with inconsiderate parking.

"This has been going on more or less constantly for the last couple of weeks but also happens most weekends during a "normal" summer.

"As a Friends Group we have no power to do anything apart from to pass on information to Cheshire East Council. We can make suggestions of course but in this case there is very little we can do.

"The police are busy - they probably don't have the resources to come and tackle this everyday? I personally believe they do their best but they do seem to have been rather unwilling to act - in common with some others I wonder why cars aren't being towed away in fact?"

Ian Ballie, Chairman of Friends of the Carrs, added "Definitely a good idea to highlight this parking situation as widely as possible. It's really bad at the Twinnies Bridge end as well, with the car park overflowing and cars parked on the very narrow Styal Road making two-way traffic impossible.

"On top of this, some drivers have been parking on the road on a blind corner at the bottom of the steep narrow hill coming down from Styal to the entrance to the park."

Speaking about the situation last week, a local police officer said "Cliff Road parking at this time is horrendous and unnecessary. Watching pedestrians having to walk on the road is dangerous. Drivers need to think before they park. Tickets have been issued and we will continue to monitor."

I have contacted Cheshire East Council regarding the situation and at the time of publication I am awaiting a response.

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Comments

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

Bob Bracegirdle
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 3:25 pm
Mindless and arrogant at the same time. I'd take their cars off them.
Paul Tracey
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 3:37 pm
I walked down here on Friday and Monday, around 5 pm and had to walk on the road.

People really don't care, and will continue to not care until they get penalised.
Dave Ridge
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 3:57 pm
If I was a traffic warden, they'd all be getting a ticket slapped on their windscreens! They should be having a field day. Thoughtless and selfish.
Jo Jeffers
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 5:20 pm
A really good article to get visibility of the issue - we need action before the headline is somebody has been injured.

The police are ticketing but they can’t be there all day and it is advisory notices which for some is worth the cost of having to park somewhere else. Evident by people park even after seeing those notices.

In the mid to long term we need a preventative solution not reactive solution. However in the mean time we need more impactful penalties for something that is both illegal and very dangerous.

I have engaged my local councillor who is being excellent, but we need to ensure this problem stays visible and well documented
Raymond James Wallace
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 5:41 pm
There was a review of the parking problem in Wilmslow not many months ago, with the outcome being published, with recommendations for solutions, this included double and single yellow lines where needed and a timetable for carrying out the work. It comes with a short, medium and long priority list, short 6-12 months, medium 1-2 years and long god knows. Cheshire East make out this needs careful planning, it’s a tin of yellow paint and two brushes?
But what needs time spending on, is not moving the problem from one troubled spot to another. Can Cheshire East not acquire a piece of land nearby and turn it into a car park.
Simon Rodrigues
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 6:29 pm
Impound every single one of them with a fine also.
James MacDonald
Wednesday 3rd June 2020 at 7:21 pm
100 hours community service for each. Time is a greater punishment than a parking fine.
Louise Wood
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 7:50 am
Why don't the Council give them parking tickets with a £500 fine, for being " clever" not parking on double yellow lines?
David Smith
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 8:48 am
If ever there was an example as to the reason for making parking either wholly or partially on a pavement illegal then this is it. A minimum fine of £100 AND penalty points on the licence. All motoring offences should attract penalty points so there would be a cumulative effect for repeat offences.
Mark Goldsmith
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 9:52 am
Unfortunately, we cannot set parking fines or punishments as we see fit. Nor can we just paint yellow lines on the road and then fine people. There are laws that the council has to follow to ensure we can legally set and then enforce road restrictions.

Currently, only the police are ticketing this area though. This is because the councils Traffic Wardens were re-assigned to Operation Shield, so are delivering food and medicine to our most vulnerable residents living in self-isolation. This project is now being wound down, so they will start to return to their normal roles. Therefore, they will be able to ticket this area more often to try and deter others from parking here.

In the meantime, temporary signs have been put up reminding people that free parking spaces are available at the Leisure Centre. We are also working to install bollards on this stretch of road to ensure the problem does not re-occur every time we get a hot day and the park gets busy.

Aside from this, just before the lock down both the council and national government were investigating whether pavement parking could be made illegal by default. Some roads could be excluded, but the principle would make it an offence unless signs specifically allowed it. This would then remove any ambiguity with drivers that it is somehow okay to park on Cliff Road like this just because the car is not actually on the yellow lines. We will therefore see what these reviews conclude later in the year and implement any recommendations they may make.

In the meantime, enjoy The Carrs but please park sensibly.


Best regards

Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
David Smith
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 4:49 pm
The recent experience gained from the parking fiasco on the A34 outside the Coach&Four in Wilmslow shows just how useless are our elected representatives who allegedly have the intention to make our town "an even better place to live and work". It has taken AGES finally to paint some yellow lines to knock this persistent and potentially dangerous 'normal' daily occurrence on the head after it has got up the noses of so many residents who had been complaining for so long. The long-winded actions to get these yellow lines in the gutter demonstrate the pathetic way in which we are mismanaged by everyone in authority and who have all become seriously adept at passing the buck by collectively doing EXTREMELY LITTLE.

Councillor Goldsmith's second to last paragraph above tells us that nothing has changed or been learned and our representatives are attacking PAVEMENT PARKING with the same lack of initiative and determination to leave pavements for PEDESTRIANS - you know, those of us who do not go around on wheels! To use the words INVESTIGATING, WHETHER, COULD, EXCLUDED, ALLOWED, AMBIGUITY, OKAY, CONCLUDE LATER, & MAY MAKE all suggest that there is no determined drive to do what any sensible person expects and prohibit by law the parking of any wheel of a vehicle on the surface reserved for pedestrians. Penalty to be applied WILL be a MINIMUM fine AND penalty points. I might add that this recent localised selfish parking by desperate, uncaring idiots will probably now spread and become a norm where it has been for some time along Manchester Road between Styal Road and Stanneylands Road in ADDITION to the normalised parking IN the cycle lanes there and forcing cyclists [school children] into the main part of the road where traffic will quite likely be travelling in excess of the stated 40mph limit.

As an aside I am becoming somewhat irritated by the group of councillors who come under the banner RESIDENTS OF WILMSLOW. I am a resident of Wilmslow since 1982 and take exception that their 'title' seems to think that they represent my interests in matters such as this.

What do you think?
Jonathan Follows
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 5:54 pm
The BBC reports today (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-52910600) that Oldham Council is painting double yellow lines on Holmfirth Road to combat illegal parking near Dove Stone Reservoir.

It reports that the parking restrictions are being introduced "under emergency powers".

The parking problem appears to be caused by excessive numbers of people seeking to visit in recent days, and parking so as to block the road and the pavement.

So if Oldham can do it, why not Cheshire East? Or am I attempting to make a comparison which isn't fair for other reasons? Maybe Oldham had been planning on doing this for months, processing all the "paperwork" and it just happened that this all completed to allow the lines to be painted now, or perhaps when Oldham says that the lines "will be painted" it means "in about nineteen months"? But the BBC report implies that the painting work is imminent.
Roger Bagguley
Thursday 4th June 2020 at 6:39 pm
David Smith. Residents of Wilmslow (RoW) was formed at the request of people of Wilmslow looking to act as one body in opposition to the Cheshire East Local Plan that sought to build 1500 houses plus offices etc in and around the town by 2030 - all on the green belt. The weight of opposition brought about this draft plan being ripped up and a fresh start made based upon proper practice. I guess as a result of our constant monitoring of the process support for RoW grew to such an extent our independent councillors began winning at elections. Then 12 months ago Labour and Independents took control of the Borough with 4 out of 5 Wilmslow Ward Councillors being Independents. As a founder member of RoW I continue to work behind the scenes with others supporting these councillors so I know at first hand how hard they all are working to address local issues, and how frustrated they are when almost daily they find themselves swimming against the tide of red tape and the custom and practice built up within the council by the ruling party over so many years.

Parking in Wilmslow has become a major issue the solution to which occupies many hours of councillor and officer time. Things are moving forward albeit slowly. Parking on Cliff Road at peak times has been growing over the years without being addressed. But this, like any other issue blighting Wilmslow, now will be because a new climate exists. Whatever is brought to RoW is responded to and we do our very best to bring about action or take it to council to have statute changed. Thus David, I put my hand on my heart when I say RoW and it's councillors represent all of the people of Wilmslow regardless of their political allegiances.

If there is anyone out there so far disappointed with a lack of progress please keep nagging at RoW and we will continue to do our best.
Mark Goldsmith
Friday 5th June 2020 at 2:49 am
Jonathan - Unfortunately we cannot use the emergency powers you mentioned to install yellow lines on Cliff Road because it already has double yellow lines (as the picture above clearly shows). Therefore, yes I do think you are making an unfair comparison.

David - Our previous councillors knew for a year that parking was a problem on Alderley Road (not the A34 as you stated).

However, no plan and no budget was ever made to install yellow lines there. In fact Cheshire East Highways didn’t even know it was a problem until we told them.

We would love to do things immediately but installing yellow
lines has to follow the law. Parking fines can be challenged in court, so their instalment is closely scripted by Parliament to ensure they are legal and can be enforced.

The previous administration at Cheshire East often ignored the law though, which is why the Crown Prosecution Service is now considering if some Conservative councillors should face criminal prosecutions or not.

Aside from the legal process, there is no slush fund of money to immediately fix our parking problems either. Instead, we have to compete with the boroughs other 77 councillors to find the money and resources to make anything happen.

However, things are now happening. Plans for a new town centre car park are well underway. Plus our cycle lanes will get a £750,000 improvement in the coming year too. This should also fix the cycle lane problem you described on Manchester Road and I am liaising closely with the residents group there to ensure it happens.

Therefore, I realise these improvements are not happening quickly enough for you but they are only coming at all because RoW councillors are doing things better, quicker and in a more transparent way than our predecessors ever did.
Jon Williams
Friday 5th June 2020 at 8:31 am
What's held up by 'RED TAPE' - the country !
Jonathan Follows
Friday 5th June 2020 at 9:05 am
Fair point about the existing double yellow lines, Mark, and I hope it's more possible to enforce them in future than it has been. It's a shame that so many drivers appear to feel entitled to park the way they do.
Howard Piltz
Friday 5th June 2020 at 2:56 pm
Regrettably Cheshire East Council has failed to grasp the nettle of parking in Wilmslow, whether it be Aldrrley Road, The Carrs or any one of a dozen other areas. It has taken YEARS to deal with Alderley Road, Beddels :Lane has just got done but they left one space and it gets filled immediately so negating all that hard work.Parking is now spilling into Alderley Road south of the Kings Arms and so it will carry on.
I have given the Council a long term solution but they dont listen: Build a Park & Ride or Park & Walk on both side of the A34 by-pass south of the High School roundabout. BAN all parking in the whole of Wilmlsow above three or four hours (except for resodents)and all parking on the pavements. Is that such a difficult task ? I think not.
Mark Russell
Friday 5th June 2020 at 5:40 pm
I mentioned this in a comment four or five years ago. Look at Alderley edge. A few gardeners put a stop on a plot of land being turned into a car park and all conservative councillors were kicked out by independents who promised to sort the parking problem. Fast forward five years, Alderley edge is worse than ever and we who are two miles up the road are following in their inept shadow. Why oh why if someone takes responsibility does it have to take decades to make decisions around here? Shops are going to need cardiac care over the next few months, but good luck parking anywhere near them in Alderley or Wilmslow.

Howard’s comment above is excellent. For some reason councils don’t want to upset one person by making a decision as they are scared for their seat. So that breeds inaction.

If a private company acted like our council it would have gone bust years ago, but our council just charge more while doing less.
David Smith
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 8:02 am
The advice given by our PCSO persons has been that as long as a double buggy can pass a vehicle parked on a pavement then it is ok. So what happened in Cliff Road?
The Highway Code states that you must not park partially or wholly on the pavement in London, and should not do elsewhere unless signs permit it. Parking on a pavement can obstruct and inconvenience pedestrians, people in wheelchairs, those with visual impairments, and people with prams and pushchairs.
The key here is ‘must not’ and ‘should not’.
In other words, offenders in London are committing a punishable offence and are liable to receive a parking ticket.
Elsewhere, drivers aren’t necessarily committing an offence, but it is an offence to drive on the pavement.
This means the law is a little fuzzy, as outlined by the Ask The Police website. It says: “Despite the obvious inference that a parked vehicle has been driven on the pavement prior to being parked there, witnesses to the driving will probably be needed to secure a prosecution - this can be problematic.” If parking on the pavement is permitted, it will be marked by a blue and white sign. If the car is wholly on the pavement, then vehicles may be parked entirely on the verge or footway. If the car is half on the pavement, vehicles may be parked partially on the verge or footway.

See https://www.rac.co.uk/drive/advice/legal/parking-on-the-pavement/

Just like it is NOT illegal to park IN a cycle lane like the ones we have between Wilmslow and Handforth.
It is however ILLEGAL to leave a vehicle on a road where the speed limit is 40 mph or greater between the hours of sunset and sunrise [night-time] without the appropriate lighting. So all those vehicles who have been parking on Manchester Road in the winter time when it is dark and were not displaying lights as required COULD have been ‘got’ for parking IN the cycle lane even though this was not illegal.
I mentioned this law to councillor Mark Goldsmith who as far as I can see chose to ignore it as has the police - probably because they have better things to do and too much paperwork etc.

See http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/1989/1796/regulation/24/made

Our councillors, police and anyone else involved who should be doing the right thing when it comes to how we are living our lives around here are useless. If they don’t have the powers to sort a problem out then they should set about getting the powers they need and if the system that would give the powers can’t deliver in a decent timescale then that system needs to be changed. This means that we are all living under a legal system that only acts in double quick time when it comes to issues like security and terrorism but even then perhaps not that well. Anything else can wait a hundred years.

The whole thing is a mess and those who should be sorting it out - Parliament, MP's, councils, councillors & police ARE USELESS!
Mark Goldsmith
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 12:07 pm
David

I did not ignore your suggestion and I replied to you directly saying that parking without lights is a police matter. I also told you that the number of police officers covering North Cheshire at night is worryingly low, eg it can be just 2 or 3 officers, so to get them to ticket cars for such an obscure motoring offence buried within the Highway Code is completely unrealistic.

While, I try to keep the town informed about council matters, I am not the ward councillor for Manchester Road either, although I am working with its residents group there because they requested my help.

I have also repeatedly told you that fixing the parking issues on Manchester Road is now well underway. For everyone's benefit, the Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) for Wilmslow is due to be published in the next few weeks for consultation. This will propose that the current advisory cycle lane on Manchester Road is changed to a mandatory one and that the cycle lane should become more defined with what is called "light segregation" see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/case-studies/protected-cycle-lanes-salford-greater-manchester

This is part of a £750,000 improvement to Wilmslow's cycle lanes, so it must be installed before April 2021 or else we lose the government grant. If implemented then it will free the cycle lane from any cars, make it harder to park there and any vehicles that do park will be committing an offence.

Parking on the pavement is an offence in London but not in the rest of the country. The government and Cheshire East are reviewing this to see if we should adopt the London rule. We cannot introduce this rule immediately though because we live in a democratic society, so gather other peoples views before acting. From my experience, parking splits opinion and there will be many who will oppose this change just a vehemently. We also have to establish the cost of the change (which is likely to be quite substantial). Every road will have to be individually assessed, residents consulted and signs erected where pavement parking is to be allowed. So how much will this all cost? How long will it take to implement? Where do we find the money? All questions that your simplistic view totally ignores.

Therefore, we are not being "useless" in trying to find this out, or because we do not instantly implement your every demand. Our council roles are part-time and we don't get MP's salaries, offices or support staff, so your expectation that we should somehow bend Parliament to our will and radically overhaul the whole system is quite bizarre.

Instead, I hope that you and others can see that after just 12 months in office, your RoW councillors are starting to address and the fix the towns problems that have been totally ignored for years. While we cannot do this overnight, it is coming though, as the new double yellow lines on Alderley Road demonstrate.


Cllr Mark Goldsmith
Residents of Wilmslow
Wilmslow West & Chorley
Jo Jeffers
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 2:13 pm
I dont believe they are useless, there are a lot of issues and things to be addressed and this is just one of them - but I appreciate that comment comes from frustration. The frustration when you see a problem, a very dangerous problem and it feels unheard.

However to Marks point, it is never as simple as just implementing something, and as someone who works in business and not government I am amazed at the different hoops and rounds of conversation that has to be had - I appreciate it is an important part of governance but for those not a part of that system (I am including myself) it feels harder than it should be. However that is how it is done and it cant be changed.

I think all I want to say is that for me this is not about cycle-lanes or the broader parking topic, I dont want to dilute this - for me this is a very single-minded challenge that I believe needs to be addressed - stopping parking on cliff road where it is obstructing pedestrians in a way that is dangerous, because that is not just inconvenient but it is illegal as mentioned above and dangerous.

I get that for those who dont live here and dont experience, it probably seems like a little problem - but I don't want to have to walk my two year old in the middle of a narrow and fast road every sunny day if we want to walk into town. Its horrible, honestly my heart jumps in my mouth - and its frustrating and more so because it can feel like due to the ad-hoc nature of it, it isn't being addressed and instead ping ponged between whos responsibility it is

Yellow lines dont work, signs dont work (but good try), ticketing doesnt work and is reactive - none of these are deterring people. We need something that does, we need a real, proactive solution. Mark mentioned they are looking at bollards and I think this is really a more positive step into the right direction - lets hope for more action - and if as a community we can help, let us know.
David Smith
Wednesday 10th June 2020 at 4:53 pm
As in London, it will soon be legal to park in Wilmslow ON a pavement which will suit the council and the police because in theory there will not be a need for a new car park. In practice the pavements will be so clogged up that there will be so many 'incidents' to sort out. Whoever should be sorting the mess out will not be able to cope so that in the end nothing will be done by ANYBODY and we will finally have arrived at parking anarchy where anything goes. This will only lesd to resident frustration and perhaps retaliation in various ways.

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