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Inverness disability rights campaigner welcome ban on pavement parking

By Gregor White

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Disability rights campaigner David Sansum.
Disability rights campaigner David Sansum.

A wheelchair user from Inverness believes a ban on pavement parking is long overdue.

David Sansum is hoping his daily battles caused by inconsiderate car parking in Inverness are finally nearing an end.

The 41-year-old has long called for action to tackle the issue of pavement parking which can be a nightmare for people like himself and those with mobility and visual problems or people with prams.

But the years of having to negotiate his way around cars blocking his way now seem numbered after MSPs approved the Scottish Government’s transport bill which will introduce new legislation to outlaw pavement and double parking in tackling a range of transport-related issues.

It has prompted mixed reactions in the Highland capital with some people querying how it will work in areas where road parking is limited but Mr Sansum, of Charleston View, Kinmylies, is delighted.

“This is absolutely a good thing,” he said. “It is long overdue.”

One bugbear is parking across dropped kerbs which makes it difficult for him to cross the road.

“It is a nightmare to get around as a wheelchair user as it is – without people parking on dropped kerbs,” he declared.

“It stops me getting around. It stops me getting to where I want to be. I have to find a detour to get to where I want to go because of drivers parking on pavements.

“I encounter this on a daily basis.”

He said it was not only cars but vans and lorries making deliveries and cited Church Street and Academy Street as particularly problematic.

The new legislation will give a 20-minute exemption for delivery vehicles which he queried.

“It seems a bit too long but it depends what they are delivering,” he said.

Mr Sansum acknowledged motorists might face challenges in some areas with narrow streets and said that in future projects, developers needed to incorporate solutions, such as wider roads.

The bill, which was passed by parliament last week, is now going through the final stages of the parliamentary process and is not yet in force.

Once granted Royal Assent, the new parking regulations will come into force around a year later.

The legislation will give local authorities powers to enforce the parking regulations, allowing parking attendants to issue penalty charge notices to motorists breaching parking controls in specific areas. Penalties will be set in accordance with guidance issued by Scottish Ministers.

Local authorities will be given powers to tackle parking misdemeanours.
Local authorities will be given powers to tackle parking misdemeanours.

But as Highland Council awaits further information about its implementation, people have joined in the debate on the Inverness Courier’s Facebook page.

Malcolm Morrison hoped the new regulations would be enforced in Perceval Road, Dalneigh, where he claimed cars completely blocked the pavement daily.

“No room for prams, wheelchairs or the elderly,” he said. “It’s beyond obnoxious.”

Pauline Fraser Munro agreed with the bill, but called for some considerations.

“I live on a street where it is a daily battle to get parked because the council have taken away so many parking spaces to make way for flats or added in excessive double yellow lines so that one of their bin lorries can reverse down a one way road,” she said.

“Trying to load or unload your car when you’re parked nowhere near your house is a nightmare especially the heavy weekly shopping.

“We have no driveway and if we park on the road outside without pulling up slightly onto the curb then we’d hold up all the traffic on the main road – a narrow one way road. So a limited time to allow loading or unloading would be helpful.”

Doug McAndrew felt issues could arise in Duncraig Street in Dalneigh.

“The council, in their infinite wisdom, allowed parking on both sides of the street back in the 70s,” he said.

“More car-owning residents, guest house overnight parkers, two ice cream vans and parents picking up kids from St Joseph’s have led to a situation where you must park on the pavement, or risk blocking the road , with these new really wide cars.”

Inverness Central councillor Janet Campbell understood people’s concerns, pointing out there were some narrow streets in areas such as Dalneigh, Merkinch and Crown which would have to be considered.

“Of course, we have to consider the needs of pedestrians and wheelchair users,” she said

“But there is no doubt problems will arise in narrow streets where people don’t have driveways and at this stage I am not sure how they can be addressed.

“I look forward to the consultation and the matters being discussed in the near future.”

A council spokeswoman said further information was awaited which would enable local authorities to take a consistent approach.

“Obstruction of pavements continues to be a matter for Police Scotland who are still responsible for reportable traffic offences on all roads, such as dangerous parking or obstruction,” she said.

“A vehicle causing an obstruction is one which has been parked and left unattended in such a way that it is considered to be a hazard to other road or footway users.”

A Transport Scotland spokeswoman said: “The Transport Bill’s prohibitions on pavement and double parking will help ensure that our pavements and roads are accessible for all – particularly those with mobility considerations.

“We will continue to engage stakeholders through the Parking Standards Group which includes representatives from local authorities, disability organisations, active travel groups and business organisations, to discuss the implementation of the new parking rules.”

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