Sunday, 21 April 2019

Plan for trees to prevent parking on verge delayed

Plan for trees to prevent parking on verge delayed

PLANS to plant trees along a grass verge in the centre of Goring have been put on hold.

The parish council was considering planting up to 10 Himalayan birches on a section of High Street between the village hall and the junction with Manor Road.

This was to stop people parking on the verge, despite the presence of double yellow lines, which churns up the grass.

However, the council has now decided to postpone the plan because South Oxfordshire District Council is considering taking on the power to issue parking fines and could employ enforcement officers to patrol the area.

At the moment, parking enforcement is the responsibility of Thames Valley Police but the force says it doesn’t have enough officers to commit to this.

The parish council was considering planting either 10 birches about 4m apart or seven about 6m apart, or three smaller trees interspersed with large self-watering planters about 5.4m apart, which was suggested by Goring Gap in Bloom.

The work would cost between about £900 and £2,200.

In a report to the council, Councillors David Brooker and Bryan Urbick recommended planting seven trees with bulbs underneath to maintain the rural appearance.

They also considered installing bollards with a stone veneer to blend in with the surroundings but this would have cost £5,000, which was deemed too expensive.

Cllr Brooker said: “We need to do something to make sure people are aware that verges and footpaths are for pedestrians and not car parks. It frustrates me.

“From the months that I’ve been researching high street issues, I’d suggest that ‘no parking’ signage would make no difference because these kind of people just don’t care.”

But there are concerns that the trees could grow up to 16ft tall and block views of Rectory Gardens.

Richard Lester, who lives in High Street, said: “Would you be considering anything at all if it weren’t for the parking problems because you risk destroying one of the village’s most iconic views?”

Council chairman Kevin Bulmer, who is also the village’s representative on the district council, said he would seek to find out the latest development on the parking civil enforcement discussions.

He added: “We have a problem that has no easy solution unless we had £5,000 to spare.

“The point about the view being iconic is well made and we don’t want to rush into any possible solution. Let’s go back to the drawing board.”

The council did agree to add a planter between the two bollards it recently installed along the northern half of High Street near McColl’s newsagents and the office of estate agent Davis Tate. These are to stop cars mounting the pavement to let others pass where the road narrows but there is still a small gap.

The bollards couldn’t be installed closer together for safety reasons but the planter is permitted because it is movable.

Meanwhile, councillors are considering ways to improve Rectory Gardens without breaching the covenant under which it was left to the village in the Thirties.

The green space, formerly owned by Sir James Edmondson, must remain simply laid out in Georgian style and with mostly grass for public exercise and recreation.

It is currently under-used, partly because the central avenue of lime trees is overgrown and casts a large shadow. These could be pollarded and new seating installed.

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