Pavement parking ban proposals welcomed by frustrated pedestrians in Sheffield

Cars parked on the pavement in Greenhow Street (Andrew Roe)
Cars parked on the pavement in Greenhow Street (Andrew Roe)
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Frustrated pedestrians have thrown their support behind proposals to ban parking on pavements in Sheffield.

Drivers could be hit with £70 fines for mounting the kerb, under new laws being demanded by local authorities across England and Wales.

Pavement parking on Highton Street (Andrew Roe)

Pavement parking on Highton Street (Andrew Roe)

More than 200 people have had their say via The Star's Facebook page, where a heated debate about the subject erupted this week.

A small majority welcomed efforts to stop 'inconsiderate' motorists blocking footpaths and potentially putting pedestrians' lives at risk by forcing them to walk in the road.

But others said drivers often need to park on the pavement to provide room for other vehicles, including fire engines, to pass safely.

Lizzie Coleman said she was 'fed up' of having to walk into the road with her children because there was no room for her pram on the pavement. She told how her eight-year-old had nearly been hit by a van, and said elderly and disabled people were being unfairly affected too.

Bole Hill Lane, where many cars were parked with two wheels on the pavement (Andrew Roe)

Bole Hill Lane, where many cars were parked with two wheels on the pavement (Andrew Roe)

Nick Hopkins said his disabled sister was often forced to confront steep kerbs in her electric wheelchair and travel along the road when 'inconsiderate' drivers left her too little room to pass on the pavement.

But Steven Fletcher described it as a cash-making move by the 'money-grabbing' council, and Shaun Kirk-Patrick called it a 'crazy' idea which he claimed would slow down traffic on the city's narrow roads.

Sheffield Council gave the proposals a cautious thumbs-up.

A council spokesperson said: "Highway authorities already have some powers to prohibit parking on pavements, and we would be interested in any proposals that would help to address these further, especially if they allow greater flexibility and discretion to be applied by civil enforcement officers while ensuring a consistent approach to motorists."

A car parked on the pavement in Headland Drive (Andrew Roe)

A car parked on the pavement in Headland Drive (Andrew Roe)

The Local Government Association, representing more than 370 councils in England and Wales, wants local authorities nationwide to be given greater powers to ban pavement parking, which has been outlawed in London for more than 40 years.

Local authorities outside the capital can already ban parking on pavements in specified roads but the LGA says this is a time-consuming, expensive and bureaucratic process.

It says extra powers would remove that red tape and make it easier to ban pavement parking where necessary while making exemptions for narrow roads where the measure is impractical.

The LGA's transport spokesman, Councillor Martin Tett, said: "Councils in the capital have been able to ban pavement parking for many years and it seems a nonsense that local authorities outside London remain unable to do this.

"Local authorities need this power to respond to concerns raised by their communities, for example if a street is becoming dangerously congested or pedestrians are being forced to step out into the street to get round parked vehicles. This is particularly dangerous for blind or partially-sighted people and mums and dads with prams.

"Pavement parking and damaged pavements is one of the biggest complaints from pedestrians. In addition, repairing kerbs, verges and pavements damaged by pavement parking is expensive at a time when councils continue to face huge funding pressures as a result of further cuts to funding from government. The money spent on this would be better used to plug the £12 billion roads repair bill we currently face as a nation."

Should new powers be approved, the LGA says it would expect councils to consult residents before applying them and to do so only 'sparingly' in response to concerns raised.

A bill allowing councils to ban pavement parking over wide areas was debated in parliament in 2015 but it was withdrawn without being approved.