We are campaigning against illegal parking on pavements.
The law allows parking on a pavement in an emergency, or where it has been permitted by appropriate signing, but too many drivers park routinely on pavements for no good reason.
We feel that it is time that action was taken and have put forward 10 recommendations (September 2013):
1. Merseyside Police officers should stop parking illegally on pavements.
2. Wirral Council officers and contractors should stop parking illegally on pavements.
3. Police officers should stop giving wrong information concerning the legality of parking on pavements.
4. Council officers should stop giving wrong information concerning the legality of parking on pavements.
5. A clear joint statement of what is legal and what is not should be agreed by Police and Council, and websites should be updated accordingly.
6. Police and Council officers should adopt a less complacent and more urgent attitude to the problem.
7. The areas around schools and accommodation for elderly and disabled people should be prioritised to be kept free of illegally parked vehicles by a combination of education and enforcement.
8. Companies involved in breaking the law should be advised of the legal situation by a joint (Council-Police) letter, and by other means.
9. An education programme (via posters, leaflets, windscreen stickers etc) should be started to advise drivers of the law and possible consequences.
10. Enforcement action should then be commenced where necessary to ensure compliance.
Download the full recommendations from here.
These recommendations have come about from circulating proposals in November 2012, and inviting comments. The responses to our proposals are as follows.
Frank Field MP:
Thank you so much for sending me a copy of your proposed reforms. They look most interesting and they are issues that arise in Birkenhead.
I have sent your document to Councillor George Davies who I work with closely as he is my agent in Birkenhead and I will ask George to make contact with you on how the ideas can be taken forward.
With best wishes
Esther McVey MP and Minister for Disabled People:
Thank you for your letter of 13th November regarding Wirral Pedestrians Association's ten point strategy for tackling illegal parking on pavements. I am responding as your constituency MP, rather than in a Ministerial capacity as prima facie this matter would come within the remit of the Department for Transport.
I welcome your endeavours to compile this plan and as such have asked the Interim Director for Technical Services at Wirral Borough Council to consider the initial proposals. I understand you will be taking forward further recommendations following a period of consultation to both the Council and Merseyside Police and look forward to seeing what the Association decides on.
I will contact you again as soon as I have a response from Technical Services.
With my best wishes.
[later forwarded a letter from Brenda White - see Wirral Council's responses]
Alison McGovern MP:
I wanted to thank you for your letter of November 13 on behalf of the Wirral Pedestrians Association with your comments about the vehicles parking on the pavements of the region and blocking walkways.
For your information, I have contacted the Chief Superintendant of the Wirral Police, and the Director of the Council's Technical Services Department with your documentation and will be back in touch with you when I receive their reply.
You have asked for my support and I am happy to offer it to you in any way you would feel is most appropriate. If you would like to get in touch with my office and let me know any thoughts you have on next steps for your campaign.
Member of Parliament for Wirral South
[later forwarded a letter from Brenda White - see Wirral Council's responses]
Jane Kennedy (Police Commissioner for Merseyside):
Thank you for your report and proposals to tackle illegal parking on pavements.
I have spoken to the Chief Constable and he has assured me that this matter is taken seriously by the Force. Regular training and reminders are issued to all staff and officers in respect of illegal parking with the message that it is not appropriate except for in the most extreme circumstances.
Whilst responsiblity for parking lies with local authorities, Merseyside Police continue to undertake enforcement in a robust manner, with nearly 4,000 tickets being issued during the current year.
I understand that you have received communication from the Wirral Area Commander which reinforces Merseyside Police's commitment to addressing this issue and know that work is ongoing with Wirral Council to seek solutions to some of the issues that the Wirral Pedestrians Association report raises. I hope that this ongoing work will provide an answer to at least some of the problems raised.
Police Commissioner for Merseyside
Cllr Mike Sullivan:
This is an issue that has vexed me for more years than I care to mention. I've never been able to get any sort of coherence from either police or council officials. I do agree with all your proposals, if we have laws, they should be enforced by police and council or done away with.
I've seen large vans and even articulated lorries on kerbs. There is a big problem here in Pensby, we have three primary schools in a small area adding to the problem. I know there are just too many cars on our roads, which were not built for the amount of traffic that are now on them. Never the less parking on pavements has become a chronic, serious issue.
I applaud your ideas to make our pavements safe for all our residents. This is a problem which is getting worse and it's been ignored for far to long.
If you let me know when you meet I'll do my best to attend.
Labour Councillor Pensby and Thingwall.
Cllr David Elderton (Chair, Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee):
Thank you for your letter dated 1 11 12 and a copy of the document concerning illegal Parking on Pavements - which I found both comprehensive and constructive.
. . .
With kind regards
Cllr Jerry Williams (Spokesperson for Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee):
The issue of pavement/verge parking, in my ward alone, I have had more complaints over the years above anything else. Whole pavement areas are smashed by heavy vehicles parking on them, which are then a dangerous tripping hazard. People with disabilities, mothers with prams are forced into the road. Utility Companies are often the worse offenders. The Council mention the damage repaired, but not the damage unrepaired which must be over a million pounds in my opinion. I am pleased to see a number of agencies including the Police are supporting this initiative.
Action is needed quickly.
Wirral Information Resource for Equality and Diversity Ltd (WIRED):
I have just looked at your piece on 'Parking on Pavements'. I work for Wired and we work with people with disabilities and their carers, so found this most interesting.
I would say that the first four points need clarifying as the legal position as quoted in your article seems very confusing.
I think the idea of educating people is a good point because they do not seem to understand the difficulty that is caused by parking on pavements, not just for people with disabilities but all pedestrians.
Please feel free to contact me on the numbers below if you need any clarification.
Adult Service Manager
Wirral Information Resource for Equality and Diversity Ltd (WIRED)
Your email has been passed on to me because I now have responsibility for this area of policy. I have read your manifesto and I think that there is a lot of good content and the are photos are brilliant, but there are a few areas we can help with.
As you point out it is illegal to drive on pavements. Despite the anomaly, it is not actually illegal to be parked on them (London and Exeter are exceptions by Act of Parliament) unless there is a Traffic Regulation Order. I've suggested some changes to the 10 point strategy (now 6 point) in order to reflect this below, which I hope you will find useful. You may also want to consider removing reference to Baby P on page 11 - the old lady with the bruise is a far more pertinent and equally effective message.
Unfortunately, as Im sure you are aware, Living Streets has limited resources so we can only publically support campaigns run by our Affiliated and Local Groups. I dont think that you are signed up as an Affiliated Group. If you would like to sign-up please fill in the attached form, then we can assess your campaign for wider Living Streets support.
I hope this helps you move forward and I wish you good luck with the campaign. Do let me know if there is anything else I can help you with at this stage
"Parking on pavements puts pedestrians at risk and damages pavements. Police officers and council officers hold positions of public trust and must set a better example:
1. Merseyside Police officers, Wirral Council officers and council contractors must stop driving illegally onto pavements to park their vehicles.
2. Police officers and council officers should agree and publicise a joint position on pavement parking in the Wirral, clearly stating where it is and is not permitted. This must be formalised through the adoption of Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs).
3. An education/publicity campaign (via posters, leaflets, windscreen stickers etc) should be launched to advise drivers of benefits of the Wirral's new parking TROs (pedestrian safety, reduced pavement repairs) and the consequences of ignoring parking restrictions.
4. Parking on Pavements must not be permitted in areas around schools and sheltered accommodation for elderly and disabled people. This message should be communicated through education and enforcement of TROs.
5. Companies found contravening TROs should be advised of the legal situation by a joint (Council-Police) letter; persistent offenders could be named and shamed.
6. Enforcement action should be commenced where necessary to ensure compliance."
Dr Rachel Lee
Policy and Research Coordinator
4th Floor, Universal House, 88-94 Wentworth Street, London. E1 7SA
As you are aware, parking on pavements has been one of Guide Dogs' key campaigns recently and we continue to strive to raise this issue on a local level.
Inconsiderate parking causes unnecessary problems for Wirral guide dog owners, who are forced to work their dogs out into the road in order to get past vehicles which have been parked on the pavement. This can be extremely dangerous, particularly at busy times outside school and on busy main roads.
It is the aim of Guide Dogs to highlight this in such a manner that drivers would consider their future parking habits and consider the needs of pedestrians, particularly blind and partially sighted guide dog owners.
We would be interested to be kept informed of the work of your group and I would appreciate being placed on your 'news list' or any other such communications list.
The Bradbury Centre
Liverpool L14 2EP
Thank you for this email.
The issue is, in fact, the subject of a report to the Council's Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 21st November. That report will be published imminently, I think tomorrow, and can then be accessed on the website.
Your own attached report is helpful as a contribution to the debate. Might I suggest that you may care to approach Cllr.David Elderton, Chair of the OSC, in advance of the meeting and ask whether he would be willing for you to address the committee?
Without sounding like a Jerimiah, there really IS a major resources issues for the Council at present and further information and publicity about this will emerge over this weekend. Both corporately and at services level we are having to recommend, and then to take, some REALLY difficult decisions so whatever the intrinsic merits of both existing and expanded spheres of activity such as you propose, they will have to be weighed in the balance of overall priorities. This is not to say we can do nothing but rather that we cannot and should not pretend to do what we cannot.
Interim Director of Technical Services
Response to Esther McVey MP:
Subject: Service Request 618940: Wirral Pedestrians Association 10-Point Plan to address Illegal Parking on Pavements
I have been asked to respond to your request dated 21st November 2012, on behalf of the Wirral Pedestrian Association, that consideration be given to their initial proposals, in the form of a ten-point plan, to address the illegal parking on pavements in Wirral.
It may interest you to know that a report concerning pavement and grass verge parking was submitted by the interim director of Technical Services, Chris McCarthy, to the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 21 November 2012, the content of which can be viewed via the following link:
or via the attached .pdf file: Pavement and Grass Verge Parking Report.pdf
The purpose of the report was to provide a strategic overview of the problems associated with pavement parking, the current legislative framework, and proposals on how the Council could increase public awareness of the issue, and, in conjunction with the police, undertake appropriate enforcement action.
One of the recommendations in the report is to consult with area forums, the emergency services, and Wirral Pedestrian Association.
The proposals contained in the strategy document dated October 2012 from the Wirral Pedestrian Association, which you enclosed with your request, will form an essential part of Wirral's consultation process, and are gratefully received. Full consideration will be given to their views and recommendations, and any further comments they may wish to make after they have had time to read our report to cabinet [the Scrutiny Committee].
Thank you for raising this matter with us on behalf of the Wirral Pedestrian Association, and I hope this information will enable you to respond to them, and share with them the recent committee report.
Highway Asset Management
Response from Wirral Council to Alison McGovern MP:
I have been asked to respond to your recent enquiry concerning Wirrals policy on pavement parking within the Borough.
The Council is aware that the practice by vehicle owners of parking on grass verges and pavements in residential roads is a common problem across the Borough and unfortunately is not restricted to any single area or street.
A report concerning pavement and grass verge parking was submitted by the interim director of Technical Services, Chris McCarthy, to the Sustainable Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 21st November 2012, the content of which can be viewed via the following link:
or via the attached .pdf file
[Pavement and Grass Verge Parking Report.pdf]
Following on from that report, the Council now expects to begin the issuing of Pavement Parking Warning Leaflets very soon, (see attached) and it is hoped that these leaflets will help reduce the problems, by making drivers who park their vehicles on pavements or verges aware of the problems caused by such parking, whilst also warning them of the risks and potential penalties for causing an obstruction.
Thank you for contacting Wirral, and I hope this information will assist you in responding to your constituent.
Highway Management, Highway Asset Management
Andrew J Cooke, Assistant Chief Constable (Operations), Merseyside Police:
Thank you for your letter dated 8 November 2012 regarding illegal parking. I am looking into the issues you have raised and will contact you again in the near future.
[Chief Supt John Martin later replied on behalf of ACC Andrew Cooke - see below]
John Martin, Chief Superintendent, Wirral Area Commander, Merseyside Police:
Pavement and Grass Verge Parking
Thank you for your recent letter in relation to pavement parking.
Pavement parking is a concern for Wirral Council, the Emergency Services and many members of the public. On Wednesday, 21st November 2012 the Wirral Council's Environment and Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee considered a detailed and comprehensive report on the subject.
I believe you actually attended this Meeting and were invited to speak on behalf of the Wirral Pedestrian Association. The full details of the report and the Meeting are available on the Wirral Council's website at www.wirral.gov.uk.
Although the Committee made some minor changes to the recommendations, in relation to strengthening the wording on the draft leaflet, they have adopted the proposals. Full details of the recommendations are contained on page 34 of the report and contain the following:-
12.1 Members are requested to note this report and endorse the following proposed actions by the Interim Director of Technical Services.
12.2 Undertake consultation with Area Forums, Emergency Services, WIRED and the Wirral Pedestrian Association regarding appropriate minimum widths, impingement upon which would be deemed obstruction and report back to members in due course.
12.3 Review, and if found practical, prepare an invest-to-save proposal to address the consequences for highway maintenance and the defence of personal injury claims arising from pavement parking.
12.4 If resources are available, conscious of the context described in paragraph 7.2 above (Council's financial position), then implement a staged approach to managing pavement parking issues:-
(i) In conjunction with the Police, undertake an information/publicity campaign using a variety of media strands to raise public awareness of the problems and the potential penalties that can be imposed.
(ii) Issuing of specific warning leaflets (Appendix 1) for drivers together with a database of 'persistent offenders' in problem areas.
(iii) Referral to the Police for dangerous, damaging or persistent obstructive parking.
(iv) Refer to Area Forums for prioritisation of specific pavement/grass verge parking restrictions with subsequent enforcement action, as appropriate.
(v) Investigate the creation of a database of details of vehicles regularly parking on footways and grass verges causing obstruction and/or damage.
(vi) Undertake prosecutions of drivers causing damage to the highway infrastructure.
Clearly there is still some work to be done before a 'Parking on Pavement' Policy can be agreed and fully implemented on the Wirral but I believe the above demonstrates an acknowledgement of the problem and a commitment to address it.
WIRRAL AREA COMMANDER
Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary:
PROPOSED STRATEGY TO TACKLE ILLEGAL PARKING ON PAVEMENTS
I can confirm receipt of your correspondence and the attached proposal document. Your correspondence has been passed to me because Merseyside Police is within the HMIC Northern Region.
HMIC is not in a position to comment on the proposals that you have put forward regarding the reduction of and reaction to the parking issues that are being experienced on the Wirral.
The core purpose of HMIC is to inspect the efficiency and effectiveness of forces in England and Wales, as well as the Police Service of Northern Ireland and other specified national agencies. HMIC has no power to compel forces to take action, this is a matter for Chief Constables, and as such it would be inappropriate to comment on your proposed strategy to compel Merseyside Police to undertake certain action.
Should you wish more information on the role and responsibilities of HMIC, please consult the HMIC website (http://www.hmic.gov.uk/about-us/what-we-do/our-approach-to-monitoring-forces/).
I am unable to offer any further assistance on this occasion.
Inspection Support Manager
Association of Chief Police Officers:
In all honesty we can only reiterate the law in this regard and for those aggrieved by the parking to contact the local police and/or their local authority regarding enforcement.
As I understand it there are three possible offences that may be considered in relation to obstruction -
1. Where a person in charge of a motor vehicle (or trailer) causes or permits the vehicle to stand on a road so as to cause an unnecessary obstruction of the road (Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986, reg 103) 2. For any person in any street, to wilfully cause an obstruction in any footpath or public thoroughfare to the annoyance or danger of the residents or passengers (Town Police Causes Act 1847, sec 28) 3. For any person without lawful authority or excuse, to wilfully obstruct the free passage along a highway (Highways Act 1980, sec 137).
Depending on which offence is engaged it is necessary to show that the obstruction was wilful or unnecessary and for the third offence the presence of lawful authority or excuse will constitute a defence.
Clearly this is not a policing priority as we have to balance the delivery of services to where the greatest threat risk and harm to communities occurs. However, where an offence is disclosed it should, where possible be dealt with.
Mr Paul Whittaker, Chief Crown Prosecutor, Mersey-Cheshire:
Thank you for sending your strategy through to me. I have read it with interest I am pleased to see that the thrust of your proposals point to more joint working between the police and local authority to adopt collaborative solutions to the issue. This is the right approach as responsibility for enforcing parking infringements lies with the police: the CPS only becomes involved in a very small number of cases where an offender pleads not guilty.
I would also suggest that, going further, the strategy should focus on engagement as well as enforcement with all car owners and road users being asked to take responsibility for considering pedestrians when parking.
I commend you on your efforts and wish you every success with your plans.
Download the full proposals from here.
Merseyside Chief Constable Pavement Parking letter
We have constructed a standard letter to send to the Merseyside Chief Constable. You can download it from here. Then you can print it out, complete it and send it off, or for greater effect, modify it with your particular concern. You could also print out copies for your friends to send.
In September 2011, Wirral Council published a new draft council / police policy involving a combination of educational notices, police enforcement and demarcated areas where pavement parking will be permitted and regulated. See the Minutes of the Sustainable Communities Scrutiny Committee of 26 September: http://democracy.wirral.gov.uk/mgAi.aspx?ID=14439