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Council backs down in parking row
Published 30/06/14

PLANS to build parking bays on a grass verge in Woodcote have been amended following protests from residents.

The parish council has agreed to make changes to the scheme after meeting objectors to discuss their concerns.

It had wanted to drop a kerb in Wayside Green and create space for up to five cars parked lengthways along the street.

It installed wooden bollards and was going to replace half the verge with protective rubber mesh tiles that grass could grow through.

When contractors began working on June 2, several residents protested by ripping out bollards and sitting on them. They said they had only been given a few days’ notice and that was not enough time to object.

They said the proposed bays were not wide enough and would result in cars taking up part of the pavement as well. The spaces would have been 2.3m wide, 10cm narrower than the national standard.

Residents said the verge was already used as an unofficial parking area for up to 10 cars at a right angle to the pavement, meaning the number of spaces would be reduced.

They said this would cause a safety hazard as more cars would park in a narrow service road behind their homes, near a field where children play.

The council, which owns the verge, initially defended its stance and said it had received complaints about the ground being churned up. It later agreed to put the work on hold and talk it through with the residents.

Now it has accepted the proposal was flawed and agreed to the changes. The kerb will now not be dropped and the bollards will be removed, allowing drivers to park there as usual.

The council will replant the verge and cover it completely with thinner mesh tiles that do not need gravel foundations.

Its contractor D Hazell Surfacing has already bought materials for the old scheme so the council will have to pay 1,500 for these.

After reseeding the verge and installing the new tiles, the total cost will be just over 5,000.

The council says this is only 168 more than the cost of the original scheme and it will claw back some of this by selling the materials.

Maria Webb, who led the initial protest, asked for an apology at a council meeting last week.

She said: “I feel very strongly about what happened and felt I had the right to protest for the benefit of everyone in the street.”

Council chairman Robin Peirce replied: “We hold our hands up and apologise — the consultation was not as thorough as it should have been.

“I hope that we can move on and I am happy to speak to the contractor to explain that we have resolved our differences.

“I say on behalf of us all at the parish council that we have learned our lessons.”

Three protesters who attended the meeting accepted the apology and said they were happy with the new design.

The council says it will review the parking situation in Wayside Green and consult residents before making any changes in future.

Published 30/06/14

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