Wednesday, 21 August 2019

New fence to stop parked cars obstructing footpath

New fence to stop parked cars obstructing footpath

A FOOTPATH and cycle path in Benson is being blocked by drivers parking inconsiderately, says the chairman of the parish council.

Bill Pattison said a grassed area at the junction of the A4074 with Church Road had been used as an unofficial car park over the last three years.

Residents had complained to the council about being unable to get round the vehicles to access the path.

Those affected included cyclists and pedestrians and people on disability scooters or with pushchairs.

In addition, the vehicles churned up the grass in wet weather and it became a “mud bath”, he said.

The council reported the problem to Thames Valley Police but was told the force didn’t have the resources to deal with the problem. Now it is to spend up to £3,000 on a 2ft 6in high fence around the area so that only a limited number of vehicles can access the land.

Councillor Pattison said he believed many people were parking there in order to visit the Waterfront Café on the other side of the road.

“I’ve seen it totally covered at times,” he said. “We don’t want to deter people from using the café but they need to park considerately.

“The other concern we have is that vehicles pulling out of Church Road can’t always see towards Oxford because of the vehicles blocking the view.”

The council is negotiating with Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority, which owns the land, about installing the fence.

Cllr Pattison said it had money to spend from the Community Infrastructure Levy, a contribution from developers to infrastructure projects.

“People keep contacting the parish council and it would be nice to get something done and say ‘there you go — we have acted’,” he added.

Despite this, there is concern that the move could displace the problem elsewhere.

Dave Rushton, a member of the Benson neighbourhood plan delivery group, said: “The moment you start working on that grass what are you going to do when the cars go elsewhere?”

The council has also agreed to explore introducing parking restrictions along the bus pull-in on the north side of the A4074 and the lane running through Preston Crowmarsh.

Mr Rushton said it would take six to 12 months to introduce the measures, which would cost up to £8,000 but might be opposed by the police who couldn’t enforce the restrictions.

The council is also to consider improving access to Rivermead from the southern bus stop on the A4074 by extending the length of the bus pull-in by 3.6m.

Meanwhile, two other possible road projects have been withdrawn.

The first was a new £120,000. controlled pedestrian crossing on the A4075.

The second was to spend £11,500 on improving a dropped kerb and signage to encourage people to walk or cycle into the village rather than use a car and to improve safety.

Villager Martyn Spence said the county council was trying to persuade the parish council to spend money on improvements for which it was responsible.

• What do you think? Write to: Letters, Henley Standard, Caxton House, 1 Station Road, Henley or email letters@henleystandard.co.uk

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