PARKING: Enforcement is welcome

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A topic that causes a lot of annoyance and frustration is that of inconsiderate motorists parking on pavements.

A consequence of rising car ownership is that residential streets have become clogged up.

However, parking on the pavement forces pedestrians to step into the road to get round parked vehicles. This is particularly dangerous for blind and partially sighted people, for parents with prams, and for wheelchair users.

Broken and cracked pavements that have been damaged by parked cars and vans can also be a serious trip hazard for pedestrians.

Pavements are not designed to carry the weight of vehicles and the added maintenance cost of repairing cracked and damaged paving adds an unnecessary financial burden to already cash-strapped councils.

Pavement parking has been banned in London for over 40 years so the news that the Department for Transport is considering overhauling the rules to bring the rest of the country into line with London is very welcome.

It has always seemed illogical to me that councils outside London do not have more control to stop pavement, kerb and verge parking.

Although local councils already have some powers to ban drivers from using the pavement, North Tyneside Council has largely ignored widespread pavement parking, perhaps partly out of fear that the problem will just be displaced elsewhere.

The measures being considered would mean giving local authorities more powers to ban pavement parking and to impose penalties and fines.

The money raised from fines could then be used to repair kerbs, verges and pavements damaged by vehicle tyres.

If these new measures come into force, they would lessen the large numbers of damaged, unsightly and hazardous pavements and kerbs, declutter residential streets and encourage more people to walk.

No one doubts that a thorough investigation is needed before local implementation could take place, but the fact that such a long-standing parking infringement is finally being looked into is encouraging.

If such measures are eventually rolled out nationally, I hope North Tyneside Council will put proper enforcement in place to deter pavement, verge and kerb parking.

Should this become law, it will have no choice but to comply.

Jean McLaughlin