PCC Ron Hogg with car parked on double yellow lines
Police chief tackles town's parking woes
Article by Trevor Brookes, Teesdale Mercury (http://www.teesdalemercury.co.uk/)
TEESDALE motorists got a shock when Durham Police’s crime commissioner hit the streets to personally start a clampdown on inconsiderate parking.
Ron Hogg made his presence felt in Barnard Castle last week as he showed his support for the Teesdale Mercury’s Nosey Parkers slot, which uses readers’ photos to highlight bad parking.
He walked around Barnard Castle, knocking on people’s doors if they were blocking the pavement with their vehicles.
One motorist dangerously parked up on double yellow lines near a junction so he could use his iPad – just as Mr Hogg walked by. The driver was shocked as the police and crime commissioner banged on his window telling him to move. There was a large parking space less than 10 yards away.
Mr Hogg described some parking in the town as “outrageous” – including one mini-bus parked wholly on the pavement in Marwood Drive. Major crime is a priority for Durham Police but smaller issues like poor parking were just as important, he said.
Mr Hogg said: “It has been raised with me about drivers parking across the whole pavement so people can’t get down the footpath. Can disabled people get by and what about people with pushchairs?
“Let’s have some enforcement about this. I’m delighted to be in Barnard Castle to raise the issue. It’s like an estate with broken windows. If nothing gets done, it gets worse.”
The Mercury’s Nosey Parker’s feature has become a favourite with readers since it was introduced several months ago. Many photos have been sent in to be published to highlight the issue.
Mr Hogg joined two people who have submitted Nosey Parker photos and town councillor John Watson in a search for examples last Friday.
Within minutes Mr Hogg spotted a pick-up which was parked on double yellow lines and blocked the path in Queen Street.
The owner told Mr Hogg he was about to unload but the crime chief asked him to park elsewhere, later saying “he clearly wasn’t unloading”.
In Victoria Road, a pensioner parked her car on the pavement when there were several free spaces nearby.
“It’s a classic example of someone parking on the pavement when there is clearly enough space,” Mr Hogg said.
However, the crime chief acknowledged some streets were unsuitable for modern traffic and motorists found it difficult not to block the road without parking on the pavement.
“The issue is about inconsiderate parking. Let’s be considerate and let’s reclaim the footpath,” Mr Hogg said.
John Watson welcomed Mr Hogg’s visit. He said: “The message from officialdom has previously been that they do not have time to deal with this despite considerable concerns in the community.”
One of the residents told Mr Hogg the problem was not just confined to Barnard Castle.
“It’s everywhere and Middleton-in-Teesdale can be really bad,” explained the woman who says she knocks on people’s doors when they park badly.
Mr Hogg praised her actions. He said: “It’s perfectly legitimate to knock on people’s doors. Most people don’t realise what they are doing until they are told. They just don’t think.”
The crime commissioner said he would work with the Teesdale Mercury to get police action on hotspot areas when they are raised through the Nosey Parker’s slot. He said officers would visit the owners of poorly parked cars including the mini-bus parked on the pavement in Marwood Drive. Cllr Watson said this pavement was being used as a “garage”.
“This example is outrageous and not acceptable. The local police will deal with the issue,” Mr Hogg said.
For residents living within the Teesdale area: To get your picture of someone’s bad parking printed in the Teesdale Mercury, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted on Wednesday 30th October 2013