Thursday, 24 May 2012

Nightmare On Chapel Street!

As you know I'm a fairly laid back person and most of my blog is normally of an upbeat nature, but like everyone, occasionally I have to let the dark side out, and today I have a rant of truly Meldrew-esque proportions to lay upon you.

Without further ado let's have a picture of the great man himself to set the scene.

I don't believe it!!!!

What's this all about then? Well as you know, for six years now I have lived in Chapel Street, 3 years in this house and 3 in the one next door (which has no off road parking). During the period I was next door it was a constant battle to get a parking space opposite the house, the only free ones left in the area, and not included in the residents parking scheme unlike everywhere else nearby, e.g. Priory Road.

The one time I stepped out of line and parked on the single yellow line for about 5 minutes because I had just got back, Ollie was crying and had a soiled nappy and I had to make getting him in and changing him a priority I got a ticket! Amazing - the one time in 3 years I stepped out of line and whammy! It's almost as if they were waiting for me.

Anyway, that's all in the past, what's going on now? Well for the past year we have effectively been living in the middle of a building site. Six new houses on Chapel Street, either side of us, and two new blocks behind us. This has meant an awful lot of noise and disruption, but I have put up with it without complaining, however, the state of things in the street these days really is getting out of hand!

One of the thing that annoys me is that the builders, people who are working or going for lunch in trinity, and assorted other people who use the street as a car park (when there is a perfectly good half full one opposite) are now parking all the way along the street, all day, every day, making it increasingly difficult to drive up and down the street - it's single file all the way. And none of these people ever gets issued with a ticket. I haven't seen a Police community support officer or traffic warden down here for years. People have got wise to this and now it's a free for all.

Why pay to use this empty car park when you can park
 on the yellow lines opposite for free and never get caught?

In case you are wondering what the car is doing in the middle of the road at this point, it's waiting. With a lot of shouting, beeping and hand gestures coming from the car. And it's going to have a long wait, because here is what is going on a hundred yards further on past my house.

Good job I don't need to go anywhere in my car today -
my driveway is about opposite the lorry's cab.

Needless to say this chaos took some time to sort out. Once these two were out of the way, the next lorry immediately rolled into place, and this one was set fair to stay for a while.

Note the red car parked on the pavement to the left.

Still, some people didn't waste the time purely on beeping their horns and making a noise. This enterprising chap decided this would be a good opportunity to change his shoes.

Such a lovely day, think I'll put my sandals on
as I've got a few minutes to kill

I should have offered him a cup of tea, he was there long enough. Meanwhile, back up the other end of the street more unsophisticated blocking tactics were under way.

I'll just stop here then opposite this red lorry for maximum disruption.

Eventually after all of this, the road was clear again for a few minutes. So I will leave you with one final picture of the not one, but two selfish bastards who left this van and this red car parked on the pavement all morning, directly opposite the part of the pavement currently closed off where the houses are being finished off. Just about room for an able bodied person to squeeze through the gap - but if you've got a wheelchair or a pushchair? Well you can take your chance in the middle of the road with the lorries.


Do you know what, I would never have been so happy to have seen a traffic warden today - I would have run up to her - or him, and kissed them!

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Jason xx


  1. Trust me we understand,we cannot get deliverys to our rear access , I have phoned the police/discussed with any PC/WPC etc etc I can find for the last 2 years,in truth, given up as nothing gets done.
    It will need an accident before anybody listens.......
    Rant over

  2. I truly hope not - there are number of us who walk children to and from school along this street and that doesn't bear thinking about.

    I do have the ear of one of the PCSO's who has been helpful over other issues in the past - I will have a word with her when I see her in town. If they could just stop people parking on the yellow lines that would resolve most of the issues - as the building work won't be going on forever.

  3. Here's the thing guys. Most parking offences have been decriminalised by the government, so it would need a civil enforcement officer to issue the tickets, like a traffic warden. Police can process a driver if they cause obstruction of the highway but blocking a drive or entrance to private property is considered a civil matter so no dice there. If a police officer directly caught a person parking where it is signed clearly that it is prohibited they could order the driver to move, failure to do so would bring about the offences of failing to obey a lawful traffic sign. But this would mean a uniformed officer on scene constantly as it has to be a witnessed direct offence for him / her to process the offender.

  4. Thanks for that Kenny - to be honest I am not in the slightest bit bothered about my drive being blocked, that was only mentioned as part of the Meldrew-esque humour. The real issue here is the obstruction of the pavement.

    Parking on the yellow lines is one thing, but people parking their cars on the pavement blocking it to pushchairs etc when the opposite pavement is fenced off leaving mothers with small children/ pushchairs having to walk in the middle of the road where there are constantly lorries etc reversing is completely wrong.

    Surely you are not telling me that if a passing policeman saw the red car and van as featured in the last picture he would be unable to do anything - as the driver was not there?

  5. Jason,
    Apologies for delay in reply. Here is an little bit of law guff; The Town and Police Clauses Act (1847) makes it an offence to obstruct the pavement and so the police do have the power to take action where they see an offence committed. In addition, the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (1984) gives police officers the power to arrest any person in order to prevent an obstruction to the highway.
    Now the issue is what represents obstruction and the burden of proof etc. In London we don't deal with this as it falls under a highways act, civil, from many moons ago. However, in Thames valley, it appears to be at the discretion of the police officer who would have to really witness the obstruction as being sufficient to summons. This would best be served by a member of the public showing the officer that they could not pass on the footway due to the obstruction and giving their details as an independent witness. This means were the summons contested the witness could be called. Photographs would be required etc.
    The motorists are probably more worried about blocking the road so are parking like idiots thinking it's the right thing to do.
    Sadly our law has been diluted and the government has lowered the remit on such things as parking etc so that it can be dealt with via civil enforcement so that police are not tied dealing with minor infractions.
    My opinion is that if an obstruction is clear then it is the duty of the officer pcso or traffic warden to issue summons.