DISABLED Torrington pensioner Grace Tithecott claims she is being made a prisoner in her own home by the actions of inconsiderate drivers. Grace, 72, lives in narrow Well Street. She is diabetic, has difficulty walking and needs a mobility buggy to get ar
DISABLED Torrington pensioner Grace Tithecott claims she is being made a prisoner in her own home by the actions of inconsiderate drivers.
Grace, 72, lives in narrow Well Street. She is diabetic, has difficulty walking and needs a mobility buggy to get around.
But cars are regularly parked up on the pavements because of the narrowness of the street and there are times when they block the gateway to her front door and she just cannot get out.
"Disabled bay" markings on the roadway outside her home have all but disappeared, but she has a painted sign on her gate asking people to leave it clear.
Even when she can get out, she cannot use the pavement as cars obstruct them, leaving only a narrow walkway that is too small to accommodate her buggy.
"I suffered from agrophobia for 10 years and could not go out. Now I am better, but I am unable to get out," she said. "If it is neighbours' cars I can ask them to move, but people come here rather than having to pay in the town car parks. They also come from other streets, where there are yellow lines."
She had been in hospital two or three times in the past two years and also worried in case she was ill and an ambulance could not get through, said Grace.
"When I have spoken to drivers to ask how long they are staying, I have received a mouthful of bad language," she said. "I don't disturb anyone and I should not have to put up with this. It seems we do not have much of a voice and I just don't know who to ask for help."
Neighbour Kim Hutchings said parking in the street had been a problem for a long time.
She also had difficulty, particularly trying to get pushchairs or buggies in and out of the house when her grandchildren and friends visited and had to leave them out in Grace's yard.
On one occasion when she had a delivery of furniture, the frontage of her house was blocked by a parked vehicle.
At first they could not get the furniture in either the door or window
and she had called the police. They tried to help trace the owner, but it was several days before someone moved the vehicle. Meanwhile, she had managed to get the new flat pack furniture into her terraced house, but it was very cramped as she had no way of getting the old furniture out!
It seemed the authorities could do nothing to stop the parking as there were no traffic restrictions in the street, she said.
"A bit of consideration is what is needed, with people choosing more carefully where they park," said Kim.
The two neighbours agree that yellow lines alone are not the answer, as that would only move the problem elsewhere and there are also problems in other parts of Torrington.
They would like to see yellow lines, but with the authorities creating a designated parking area for residents.
Cllr Geoff Lee, Torridge District Council's lead member for parking services and a Torrington ward member, said: "We have every sympathy with Mrs Tithecott and her problems with access to her property. As a local authority responsible for the Civil Enforcement Officers we do try to make sure that traffic flow is not interrupted by illegal parking and also that parking is safe and conducted within the local rules. Obstruction is actually a police matter and road markings a Devon County Council issue. We have already contacted the police to ask them if they can help. I will be visiting Mrs Tithecott myself and having a chat with her, to see how best we can further help her going forward, even if it is just calling Devon County Council on her behalf."
A spokesperson for Torrington police said: "If the police are notified
of a vehicle causing an obstruction, we would attend and take appropriate action.