Agenda item

Pavement and Grass Verge Parking


The Interim Director of Technical Services presented a report which provided a strategic overview of the problems associated with pavement parking, the current legislative framework and proposals on how the Council could increase public awareness of the issue and in conjunction with the police, undertake appropriate enforcement action.


The introduction of further specific Traffic Regulation Orders would require formal advertising, processing and sealing. The pursuit of the pavement and grass verge parking agenda was not currently a funded item and would require resources to be made available. As a “growth” item, careful consideration had to be given to whether such resources could be identified considering the Council’s financial position. It might be that Area Forums could decide to allocate some of their funds to this topic, but central funding was unlikely to be available.


If funding was available, there could be a prospect of extending the role of the Council’s parking enforcement contractor to cover this additional area of enforcement and for them to serve fixed penalty notices on all vehicles parked on the pavements in any of the roads where traffic regulation orders were introduced. The creation/implementation of a database to record persistent ‘offenders’ would require IT support and would need to conform with the Data Protection Act 1998 (as amended).


Ian Campbell of the Wirral Pedestrian Forum and Inspector Barr of Merseyside Police both addressed the Committee. Mr Campbell suggested that the Merseyside Police website should give an accurate summary of the law. Whereas the Police website used to say, “It is an offence for a person to park their vehicle on a pavement and they would normally get a parking ticket”, it now made a much weaker statement that parking a vehicle on the pavement could lead to an offence of obstruction being committed. Inspector Barr responded to this by saying he would take these comments back to Merseyside Police.


Members expressed support for a warning leaflet which would be issued to warn drivers of inappropriate parking which caused an obstruction. They suggested that wording on the leaflet could be harder hitting and that registration numbers could be noted to enable a database of persistent offenders to be established. The leaflet should also include the point that it was illegal to drive on the pavement. Some of the worst offenders were utility vehicles.


David Rees, Road Safety Manager, acknowledged that the report was incomplete in that it omitted a key part of the law, namely that it was an offence to drive on or over a pavement. He was grateful that this omission had been pointed out by the Wirral Pedestrian Forum and that officers would be formulating a legal note to take account of this to be circulated to members of the Committee. Responding to Members’ comments he stated that there was no short answer to the issue of terraced roads in parts of the borough where it was unavoidable for residents to park on the roads. The department intended to work with Merseyside Police to get a more consistent view on what constituted an obstruction and he suggested that he would like to be able to add the Merseyside Police logo to the warning leaflet. With regard to utility vehicles, a successful claim for damage to verges had been pursued against a utility company.


The Interim Director suggested that the fact that some legislation used to address the issue of obstruction to a public footpath or thoroughfare had been drafted in the nineteenth century was an issue that needed to be raised with local Members of Parliament.


Resolved –


That the report be noted and the following proposed actions by the Interim Director of Technical Services be endorsed:


(1)  Undertake consultation with Area Forums, emergency services, WIRED and the Wirral Pedestrian Association regarding appropriate minimum widths, impingement upon which would be deemed obstruction, and report back to Members in due course.


(2)  Review, and if found practical, prepare an invest-to-save proposal to address the consequences for highway maintenance and the defence of personal injury claims arising from pavement and grass verge parking.


(3)  If resources are available, conscious of the context described in paragraph 7.2 of the report, then implement a staged approach to managing pavement parking issues:


(i).  In conjunction with the Police, undertake an information/publicity campaign using a variety of media strands to raise public awareness of the problems and the potential penalties that can be imposed.

(ii).  Issuing of specific warning leaflets (Appendix 1) for drivers together with a database of persistent ‘offenders’ in problem areas.

(iii).  Referral to the police for dangerous, damaging or persistent obstructive parking.

(iv).  Refer to Area Forums/known community groups for prioritisation of specific pavement/grass verge parking restrictions with subsequent enforcement action, as appropriate.

(v).  Investigate the creation of a database of details of vehicles regularly parking on footways and grass verges causing obstruction and/or damage.

(vi).  Undertake prosecutions of drivers causing damage to the highway infrastructure.


(4)  Request that Senior Officers raise issues relating to obstruction and footway parking with all Council staff and its contractors.

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