March 8 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Councillor calls on the authorities to act over dangerous parking and pavements in Boutport Street.
A Barnstaple town councillor is planning to take a campaign over dangerous parking and broken pavements in Boutport Street to the very top of the county and district councils.
For the past year, Cllr Simon Harvey has been calling for a clampdown on pavement parking in Boutport Street, which he says has left the footway badly damaged.
He says both are hazardous to pedestrians, particularly the blind or partially sighted, as he is himself.
The latest damage is a raised kerb at the crossing point opposite Butchers Row and right on the road, which he fears could be particularly dangerous.
If action is not taken, he plans to formally complain to the chief executive of Devon County Council about the lack of response from the highways department.
He has also called for North Devon Council’s head of parking Martin Williams to explain to a Barnstaple Town Council meeting why pavement parking in Boutport Street is not rigorously enforced. If nothing is forthcoming he plans to lodge another complaint with North Devon’s chief executive.
“We need to get this sorted out because it’s not working,” said Mr Harvey.
“I don’t know how many people have tripped and ended up in hospital, but I know of some who have. I feel strongly about this and for me it’s the most important issue at the moment in my ward.”
North Devon Council said it had contacted Cllr Harvey regarding identifying the offending vehicles.
The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) has taken an interest. A spokesperson said: “We want police and local authorities to take this seriously and take action against those who obstruct pavements or clutter them with A-boards and I am glad councillors in Barnstaple have recognised the issue.
“In RNIB’s view, a failure by a highways authority to exercise its duties under the Highways Act to prevent obstructions, places blind and partially sighted people at a particular (substantial) disadvantage and is in breach of the Equality Act.”
Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highway management, said: “The situation in Boutport Street is being monitored, the parking enforcement team is continuing to attend to issues when they are in the area, and it is hoped a review of parking restrictions will ease demand on parking such that inconsiderate and illegal pavement parking is removed.”
The council said it would inspect and repair any safety defects.