A public inquiry has discussed whether part of Chesterfield town centre should be made a restricted parking zone – with a recommendation due in November.
Derbyshire County Council wants to change restrictions in the New Square area of the town where drivers often park illegally and inconsiderately – compromising pedestrian safety and access for emergency vehicles.
The inquiry, which took place in Chesterfield on Tuesday morning, had to be held because the council received an objection to its proposals from a Thursday market trader.
A council spokesman said: “The council presented its case for the parking restrictions and four members of the public attended, speaking in favour.
“The inspector will make her recommendation to us in about six weeks. She could recommend one of three options: make the order, make the order with modifications or not make the order. The council will then make the final decision.”
Currently, the area is controlled by signs allowing traders access for loading and unloading only.
Under the council’s plans, the area would be made a restricted zone, which would see loading and unloading of vehicles banned between 10am and 4pm.
Additionally, police powers would be handed to the council’s civil parking enforcement officers – allowing them to spend more time keeping the area free of illegally-parked vehicles.
The council said it believes its plans are the ‘best way forward’.
Inspector John Turner, who is in charge of policing in the Chesterfield area, added: “Officers will take action against anyone found breaching the current restrictions to help us ensure the safety of people in Chesterfield town centre.
“I would like to remind drivers of the importance of parking legally and considerately and with respect for others using the area.
“Motorists should only enter through the ‘no vehicle’ signs at the top of Glumangate if they have legitimate access for loading and unloading, access to private car parks or blue badges.
“Vans and lorries should leave the area after they have loaded or unloaded. Vehicles causing an obstruction will be dealt with, bearing in mind that the fire service may need access in an emergency situation.”
In 2014, a woman collapsed and ambulance crews struggled to get to her because of the high number of parked vehicles in the area.
The public inquiry, which took place at the Derbyshire Creative Arts Studio on Springfield Road, is expected the cost the taxpayer up to £30,000.