Pavement parking in Epping and Theydon Bois

Those of us at December’s Theydon Bois parish council meeting heard a presentation from the North Essex Parking Partnership’s enforcement manager. He explained his civil enforcement officers can issue penalties where vehicles are parking on yellow lines (or on highways land such as a pavement adjacent to a yellow line), in residents’ parking zones or obstructing dropped kerbs.

Only the police have the power to deal with vehicles causing obstructions in other locations, including parking on pavements where there are no parking restrictions. Problems with obstructions caused by parked cars can be reported to the police on 101 or 01245 491491. However the sad truth is that the police have many priorities and may not always respond.

In some narrow or busy roads drivers face a difficult choice between parking wholly on the road, which may make it difficult for traffic to get past, and parking partly on the pavement which makes it more difficult for pedestrians to pass. However there should never be an excuse for putting all four wheels on the pavement and blocking it completely.

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Pavement parking is a real issue in roads such as Ivy Chimneys in Epping, Woodside in Thornwood Common and Forest Drive near the shops in Theydon Bois. Of these roads, only Forest Drive has parking restrictions and enforcement there is made more complicated given uncertainty about where the boundary between highways and private land is drawn. However NEPP last night agreed to look at this again.

The problem of pavement parking comes up so often the county council’s Place Services and Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee held a session on it yesterday. Councillors discussed this briefing paper [pdf]. Frustratingly the conclusions were that little is likely to change ibn terms of enforcement, unless there are changes to the law such as those advocated by the Guide Dogs Association.

This places the onus on the council or landowners to look at alternative ways of solving the problem, such as providing parking bays (expensive and often at the expense of grass verges), tolerating parking on grass verges or greens (often unsightly) or introducing new parking restrictions (which may not be practical if residents don’t have access to off-street parking).

Despite the frustrations it is an issue I will continue to work on.

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