Blitz by Preston’s wardens fails to clear Fishergate of illegally parked cars

TICKETS, PLEASE: A traffic warden at work in the shared space zone and, below, illegally parked cars
TICKETS, PLEASE: A traffic warden at work in the shared space zone and, below, illegally parked cars
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A campaign by traffic wardens in Preston city centre has still not cleared the Fishergate shared space zone of illegally parked cars.

Despite dozens of tickets being doled out at £70 a throw, pavements are still being used as roadside car parks, especially on evenings and at weekends.

I can’t recollect visiting any other centres where the attitude to parking is so cavalier. Enforcement of the law in the only way to stop this.

And County Hall chiefs, who have been raking in up to £500 an hour in fines, have issued a stern warning to drivers to stay off pavement areas or pay the price.

“We have been carrying out regular checks at various times of day around the city centre,” said Paul Riley, Lancashire County Council’s parking services manager.

“We issue a £70 penalty charge notice for people who contravene the parking restrictions.”

Parking enforcement officers booked more than 30 drivers for parking on the pavement in the space of just four-and-a-half hours during one Sunday recently. At £70 each, the swoop netted more than £2,000.

The blitz has continued since then, with scores more tickets being issued. But still the message is not getting through.

The man who raised the alarm over pavement parking – city councillor Drew Gale – has welcomed the tougher line with offenders.

“This really does need strict enforcement,” he said. “There can’t be any leeway on this whatsoever.

“I know Lancashire County Council have made efforts to increase enforcements and a significant number of tickets have been given out. But I’m not entirely sure it has got any better.

“It’s a question of educating people and I will be keeping a close eye on this to see if it goes away.”

Coun Gale initially raised concerns back in July when he produced a photograph of at least six cars parked on the enlarged pavement on Fishergate between Birley Street and Cheapside.

At the time he said: “People are using the shared space and larger pavements as a way of getting free parking and it’s not right. We don’t want to ruin the slabs as they are definietly not meant for cars.

“There is certainly no lack of parking (in the city centre), in fact there’s a surplus. There are literally thousands of spaces around the city centre, so there’s no reason to be parking there.”

The practice of pavement parking on the shared space prompted one Evening Post reader to write: “I’d like to thank the Preston authorities for providing such a magnificent car park on the recently refurbished pavement around Miller Arcade in Fishergate.

“Yesterday there were NINE cars parked on the pavement. One fortunate driver, who owns an upmarket BMW, had the good fortune to park there all day, blocking access for disabled people.”

Another said: “I visited the centre on Saturday and noted several cars parked on the pavement next to Miller Arcade. On other occasions I’ve also seen cars along the pavement in Fishergate, especially on Sundays.

“I can’t recollect visiting any other centres where the attitude to parking is so cavalier. Enforcement of the law in the only way to stop this.”

LCC’s Paul Riley added: “Blocking the pavement is not only an offence, it’s also inconsiderate, as it makes it harder for people to get around the city centre.

“It’s important that people always park their vehicles responsibly. Around the Church Street area there are specific delivery bays for loading and unloading, as well as bays for people with Blue Badges to park, but people should not be parking on the pavements.”