TACKLING the issue of “selfish motorists” parking on Pembrokeshire pavements could lead to a petition being created, or even a call for those affected to have their voices heard at County Hall, councillors heard.
A submitted written question on the issue of pavement parking was heard by the full council meeting of October 12 from long-term champion of the issue Haverfordwest Priory county councillor David Bryan.
Cllr Bryan’s question read: “Pavement parking is a problem that will not go away. When vehicles are parked on pavements it presents real difficulties for certain elements of society.
“A fit and able person no doubt is not affected in the same way as parents with pushchairs, partially sighted people and residents using mobility scooters.
“To go along a pavement that is blocked means they have to step out into a usually busy and dangerous road on immediately curtail their journey.
“Roads are for vehicles. Pavements are for pedestrians.”
His question added: “Selfish motorists who pay no regard to the consequences of their actions have no deterrent it seems.
“An affected person who can’t get past the obstruction phones both the police and the council, and from accounts I have received from residents, neither body seems interested.
“But some public body should be interested.”
He warned: “Not only are lives being put at risk but the damage being done to pavements is costly for the local authority to repair.”
His question added: “I am sure the Leader [Cllr Dvid Simpson] agrees with me that something needs to be done. It is no use waiting for the Welsh Government to take action.
“They started a review in 2019, decided to implement the results of that review in 2021 and then put it off to who knows when,” adding: “The Welsh Government says one of the reasons it has brought in 20mph limits is to encourage people to walk more. Pavement parking bans would surely go hand-in-hand.”
Responding, Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services Cllr Rhys Sinnett said the issue was a problem Wales-wide, adding: “I agree, roads are for vehicles, pavements are for pedestrians.”
He said enforcement was a difficult matter, and it was technically not an offence to park on pavements, with the police able to issue fixed penalties “as a last resort”.
He said a Welsh Government taskforce – delayed in part while the 20mph legislation was introduced – was hoping to find a solution to the issue, but legislation was “lengthy and complex”.
Cllr Bryan said the issue had gained increased publicity since a recent article in the local press, which then saw him take part in a BBC Wales phone-in on the subject.
“A lot of people have been phoning me over the last few years on this, and since it was published in the Western Telegraph a lot more people have got hold of me.”
He added: “The police aren’t interested, the county council aren’t interested. Pavement parking is not illegal.
“My way forward is either a notice of motion to invite people along who are really affected; or should I go along the route of a petition?
“Would the Cabinet member agree I can go down either of these routes?”
Cllr Sinnett replied: “Yes, you can go down either of these routes, the reality is the problems will still persist.
“It would really be helpful if Welsh Government could bring forward the consultation.”
He finished: “Whatever you wish to do in your role we would support, but you need to be aware of some of the challenges faced.”