Pavement parking debate: Many Wakefield drivers have 'no choice' but to leave car on footpath

Pavement parking has turned grass verges into "mudbaths" in parts of the Wakefield district, it's been claimed.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 11:08 am

Wakefield North councillor Betty Rhodes said the problem was widespread.

People across Wakefield are likely to be consulted about a potential crackdown on "nuisance" pavement parking.

Concerns have been raised about the problem on numerous narrow streets across the district, with wheelchairs and pushchairs forced onto the road because cars are parked on the pavement.

Councillors say many drivers have "no choice" but to park on the pavement in many streets across the district.

Wakefield Council says it is anticipating being given new powers by central government to address it.

It's likely that only drivers whose vehicles obstruct the pavement would be in danger of punishment, rather than those who do leave enough space for disabled pedestrians to pass.

A council debate on the issue was triggered by Liberal Democrat councillor Tom Gordon on Wednesday.

Coun Gordon said current legislation was "confusing" and the authorities did not have enough power to tackle the problem.

Labour councillor Betty Rhodes said the problem was widespread.

Several councillors from across the political spectrum contributed the debate, with many suggesting some drivers are forced to leave their cars on footpaths to avoid clogging up the road.

Conservative Gill Cruise said: "It is a massive problem.

"There's swathes of the district where you've got no choice but to park on the pavement, because buses, cars, vans just can't get through otherwise.

"I was wondering if we could offer help to residents - maybe dropped kerbs so they can get their cars into their driveways, because it's a very expensive thing to have.

The debate was triggered by a motion by Liberal Democrat councillor, Tom Gordon.

"Things like that would help our residents get cars off the road."

Labour's Coun Rhodes said that many local estates "were never built for the amount of traffic that's on them."

She said: "This is an issue that affects the whole of the district, so it's no good saying one area needs priority.

"It's rare these days to find homes that don't have multiple cars per household.

"Look at the grass verges. We all want to keep our green spaces from being turned into mudbaths and unfortunately that's happened.

"It's happening all over the place - A roads, resdiential areas - all over.

"There's got to be access on the footpath so that pedestrians can get to where they need to go safely."

Labour's amendment to the Lib Dem motion said the council had been anticipating a new directive from the Department of Transport over the issue, but that that is now more than three months later than expected.

The party has indicated that it will hold a public consultation in Wakefield, once that directive has come through and a policy has been shaped around it.

Local Democracy Reporting Service