FOLLOWING the Hedon Blog (on behalf of resident Alan Hudson) raising with Hedon Town Council the issue of traffic congestion and hold-ups on a Wednesday morning as the market sets up, and then photographing last Wednesday’s traffic and noting the potential for chaos, a chain of events was set in motion that resulted in some motorists receiving parking tickets.
East Riding of Yorkshire Councillors (ERYC) Ward Councillors Mike Bryan and John Dennis have jointly issued this statement and urge motorists affected by the penalties issued on the Wednesday morning 28th January 2015 to appeal – and the councillors say they are prepared to support those appeals.
“To put a brief timeline together, the matter of parking in Hedon was discussed at the Council Meeting last week (nothing new there!) and someone mentioned the snarl-up which occurred a couple of weeks ago on market day, Jan 14th. That morning at around 8 o’clock the whole town centre was gridlocked due mainly to inconsiderate parking along the roadside outside the post office and the Co-op. Following that meeting Mike Bryan, in his ERYC Ward Member role sent an email through the County Hall to the ERYC Parking Enforcement Team, – using these words
‘People have been airing their views in Hedon that the Traffic Wardens never appear to come on a Wednesday when it is market day and there are a lot of breaches in the parking regulations. Please could you confirm whether this is the case?’
“As you will see it was not a request for a warden to attend, it was designed to start a discussion about how they (ERYC) could possibly help us (Hedon Town Council) to overcome the early morning problems on market day. No-one rang County Hall to ask for a warden to come down on Wednesday.
“Last week, after the email, the market started up on Wednesday morning as usual but only three traders turned up, and because it was a poor day and very windy, they packed up and left early, around lunch-time. Of course, as soon as they cleared away, the Market Place is empty, and understandably, people turn in and park to go to the shops, banks etc.
“No-one thinks to read the signage which clearly says ‘Wednesday – no parking 6am to 6pm’, because they always park there etc etc. However they are technically in breach of the parking restriction, and, unfortunately the parking warden comes along at that very time and starts handing out tickets, which is exactly what she must do to anyone parking illegally. She has no flexibility on this. It is the job she does, she has no discretion. It’s not about how much money it raises, it’s about complying with traffic regulations.
“Obviously this caused some concern, and a number of shop-keepers spoke to us, but by then the warden had left. We tried to explain what had actually happened, but the damage had been done. It was a string of events which couldn’t have been predicted, a ‘perfect storm’ scenario perhaps!
“Thursday morning as soon as we were able, we called for a meeting with the three senior ERYC Parking Enforcement Officers at Beverley and laid out the facts before them, hoping perhaps that they had discretion and might be able to cancel the tickets. Again, working within statutory regulations that they are not empowered to break, the message is that the tickets have to be actioned, however, the recipients have two chances of challenging them, and we hope (following that discussion – no promises) the department may well take into account the above ‘extenuating circumstances’.
“We will write to the department to confirm our discussion and will be prepared to place a letter with anyone’s appeal if they so wish.
“Additionally we are fixing to have a meeting in Hedon in the next week or two early on a Wednesday morning with one of the senior parking officers so he can see for himself the issues we face. The fact is, every old market town has such problems and we will do what we can to try and improve things for Hedon, including, hopefully, securing an extension to the old Station Yard car park, which is being discussed presently.”
In addition to the above particular issue associated with parking and traffic flow, the town needs to resolve issues regarding the Wednesday Market generally. The questions raised by local businessman Gary Robinson about the location of the market and the type of market traders attending, need to be addressed; does the market raise the level of footfall in the town from which all the local businesses benefit, or is the market actually a competitor to local businesses that affects takings? And is there an alternative location for the market available at Market Hill or elsewhere?
The addition of an extra (presumed) fifteen or so parking spaces by extending the old railway station yard car park, whilst extremely helpful if it goes ahead, is unlikely to make a major impact on the problem locally. So, ongoing discussions on the issue of parking enforcement; parking regulations, how long you’re allowed to stop in a particular spot, rules for delivery vehicles, taxis, buses, etc, all need to take place; eventually resulting in parking regulations that we all understand and agree to abide by. This needs to be accompanied by initiatives to encourage us all to use our cars less for local journeys where possible.
Vehicle parking in the town centre will continue to be a major issue in the run up to the local elections in May. But what an opportune time to have a thorough public discussion on the issue!