COUNCILLORS have been told that their objections to a long-awaited solution to problems at a Uttoxeter traffic hotspot do not outweigh the ‘safety benefits’ of the proposed scheme.
Uttoxeter Town Council objected to restrictions being brought in by Staffordshire County Council on multiple roads around the Short Street area as a result of the continuing problem of inconsiderate parking.
The issue has been particularly prevalent in the last few years since auctioneers Bagshaws began holding sales at the Short Street auction house.
Visitors regularly parked on the narrow streets rather than the nearby Smithfield Road public car park – leaving some roads barely passable.
The highways department drew up plans to install double yellow lines and waiting restrictions on roads including Manor Close, Heathfield Road, Wharfe Close and Short Street itself.
However, at the town council’s meeting in November Uttoxeter mayor Councillor Martin Blencowe admitted he was concerned that the plans as they were would only serve to disperse the problems to surrounding areas such as Alexandra Crescent and the authority agreed to object.
Community traffic management officer at the county council Trevor Mellor has now responded to those objections and explained how the plans were drawn up.
He said: “A site meeting was conducted which highlighted that parking on Short Street, Heathfield Road and Manor Close was causing problems with visibility.
“Vehicles were parking partly across the footway and along a narrow stretch of highway, which does not have a footway, along the side of bungalows of Manor Close, which is home to elderly people.
“Similarly, parking too close to the Wharfe Close and High Street junction also causes safety issues with visibility obscured.”
Talking specifically about the council’s concerns over the displacement of the problems Mr Mellor said it had been a consideration.
He said: “The effect of displaced traffic is always a consideration but is often difficult to preempt.
“The current proposals do seek to mitigate the effects of such displacement with regards to protecting the most vulnerable areas i.e. junctions.
“With regard to your objection to the introduction of a no waiting at any time restriction along Short Street, Heathfield Road and waiting restrictions at the junction of High Street and Wharfe Close, the proposals do go further than the recommendations set out in the Highway Code.
“This is seen as necessary on Short Street and Heathfield Road, due to its locality and vehicles parking on the bend between the junction of Alexandra Crescent and Manor Close.
“While sympathising with the concerns expressed, it should be remembered that the primary use of the highway is for the passage of traffic and not necessarily the parking of vehicles.
“I therefore have to advise you that having considered the representation you made it is felt that the safety benefits to the community outweigh the objection.
“The proposals provide a balance between improvements in road safety while maintaining some on-street parking.”
The response from the county council was due to be discussed at the town council’s first full meeting of the year at the town hall last night.