Sunday, 07 August 2022

Call to relax rules on parking in loading bays

HENLEY’S loading bays could be used by ordinary drivers at the suggestion of a town councillor.

The move follows repeated abuse of the spaces in Duke Street and Bell Street.

The bays should only be used by people loading or unloading goods “in connection with business use” and have a maximum stay time of 10 minutes.

But they are regularly used by people to park while they do their shopping, angering traders whose deliveries are disrupted.

Councillor David Eggleton suggested lifting the loading rules after 10am, so that members of the public could then use them.

Speaking at a meeting of the town council’s town and community committee, he claimed the rules were rarely enforced by the town’s police community support officers so the bays were regularly abused.

As a result legitimate delivery drivers struggled to find a place to park and one was fined after having to park on double yellow lines.

Lorraine Hillier, who chairs the committee, said that shared spaces were popular and worked well in other towns.

But she said changing the rules would require a traffic regulation order by Oxfordshire County Council, the highways authority.

Councillor Will Hamilton said that in the meantime the police should be asked to carry out a “blitz” on illegal use they had done in March.

“We all know these loading bays have been abused for some time,” he said. “We have got to change habits down there.”

Councillor Sam Evans said that parking in loading bays should be made to be “as antisocial as smoking in someone’s house”.

Town manager Helen Barnett said: “We need to have the signs changed. They don’t make it clear that the bays are not for the general public to pop into the shops or have breakfast but are for commercial use.”

The committee agreed that the council’s transport strategy group should investigate.

The county council says it is willing to consider introducing civil parking enforcement as long as all district and town councils agree.

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