Nine motorists stung with fixed penalty fines as fire chiefs join forces with police to highlight just how bad people park in Wisbech
- Credit: Archant
Nine fixed penalty notices were issued in Wisbech as police took to the streets on Monday to clamp down on bad parking.
“Emergency vehicle couldn’t get past the obstruction,” Wisbech police tweeted.
Police officers took photos of a fire engine that had attempted, without success, to get down Hill Street.
Responding to whether more could be done, a town council spokesman said decriminalisation of street parking would be needed if a full time traffic warden was to be employed.
Until such time police would continue with the county council and the local police.
A fire service spokesman said: “Inconsiderate parking can be a real hassle for our emergency services, especially for larger vehicles like fire engines and ambulances.
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“That’s why firefighters from Wisbech took to the streets with PCSOs to highlight roads where fire engines often struggle to fit along due to inconsiderate parking.”
The spokesman added: “Nine fixed penalty notices were issued with the same number of verbal warnings given to members of the public with their vehicles.
“A fire engine measures 2.6 metres wide and 8 meters long so please make sure you park your car sensibly to allow a vehicle of this size to get through.”
PCSO Lisa Mann said: “Parking inconsiderately not only causes unnecessary obstructions and frustrations to other road users but it can also make it difficult for emergency services to access certain areas in time of need.
“There are clear designated areas for parking within Wisbech and we encourage motorists to use them.”
Phil Pilbeam, watch commander at Wisbech Fire Station, said: “Inconsiderate parking, leading to problems with access for our fire engines, is an issue in a number of roads in Wisbech.
“Our crews have historically found getting along roads in North Brink, Hill Street, Union Street and the High Street a tight squeeze owing to the large number of cars double parked, parked on both sides of the road and sometimes also parked on double yellow lines. T
“This can make it extremely hard and sometimes impossible for emergency vehicles to get through, which could cause a delay in a fire engine getting to an emergency incident.
“It is imperative that when drivers park their cars they leave enough room for a fire engine to pass – just remember, we could be trying to get to your home or to rescue you or your family another time.”
County councillor Alan Lay backed the campaign but believes it is nowhere near getting to the root of the problems over parking in Wisbech.
“The question is whether it is a statutory obligation of the police to enforce the full procedure of the law?” he said. “Or can they pick and choose?”
In a letter to county council officials he says he has been asking the same questions “since I have told that until parking is decriminalised and taken over by a council the police are responsible for traffic law enforcement.
“Alas this does not happen where I live in Wisbech, Every day there is a gross violation of parking laws, on double yellow lines, on zig zags by zebra crossings, on corners, on pavements, in fact people here park where they want, when they want. “
Cllr Lay said that “as my wife is disabled I have noticed abuse of the Blue Badge card on a regular basis. A two hour waiting limit at Wisbech Park is ignored. I contend that in the obvious failure of the police to do the work of law enforcement it shows a dereliction of duty.
“This could be termed creating anarchy by default.”
District councillor Steve Tierney provided a tongue in check comment on a Facebook discussion group about parking.
“The police’ patience snapped,” he wrote. “Tired of waiting for the police to issue tickets the police decided to issue tickets. A police spokesman said that ‘if only the police would issue tickets then the police wouldn’t have to step in and issue tickets.’”
Many took to social media to support the day of action in Wisbech.
“There is a lack of respect for parking laws in Wisbech, this is most welcome.....,” wrote one.
Another wrote: “I sat behind a fire engine outside the doctors’ surgery on North Brink and it could get through! Lazy people need to be fined.”
One other contributor thought that “it’s about time you did some basic law enforcement to reclaim Wisbech” and another thought “several more could be issued every day up the High Street and the Old Market too. It is a nightmare sometimes trying go get through Old Market to the bridge.”