‘He was not there to measure, he turned up to paint’ – Govia Thameslink in dispute over residents’ parking in mews next to Baldock railway station

Laurel Mews in Baldock.

Laurel Mews in Baldock. - Credit: Archant

A disabled woman living by Baldock railway station is among those up in arms at the line operator’s plans to put double yellow lines in front of her row of mews houses – with the train firm requesting proof she and neighbours have the right to park there, citing safety issues.

Parking on Laurel Mews in Baldock.

Parking on Laurel Mews in Baldock. - Credit: Archant

Christina Tasker and her neighbours in Laurel Mews – the private approach road, belonging to the railway, between the station and Icknield Way – were shocked to find the unmarked roadside outside their homes being coned off on August 3.

They have other parking spaces around the back of their homes – but had been allowed to park at the front under an informal arrangement reached with a previous train operator and parking management firm, alongside a sign reserving the street for ‘residential parking only’.

The attendant coning off the roadside left it alone when challenged.Govia Thameslink, which took over the Great Northern line in 2014, then requested written proof of the residents’ right to park there on August 19 – prompting them to complain of ‘intimidation’ and ‘bullying’.

“That sign’s been there for 21 years,” said Christina, who is a registered disabled Blue Badge holder.

Laurel Mews in Baldock.

Laurel Mews in Baldock. - Credit: Archant

“They’re big boys using bullying tactics. It isn’t restricting people.”

Neighbour Mike Vega disputed Govia’s claim that the attendant had been merely measuring up before a consultation.

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“He was not there to simply measure this strip,” said Mike. “He turned up in his van and overalls to paint.”

Samantha Collett, appealing to Govia on behalf of the whole street, wrote: “There was no prior notification, no consultation.

The 'residential parking only' sign in Laurel Mews in Baldock.

The 'residential parking only' sign in Laurel Mews in Baldock. - Credit: Archant

“We do not understand why, after so many years and no issues, this plan has been arrived at. Parking bays at the top of the road have led to ‘bottle-neck’ situations outside the station, but we have not had issues.

“Govia are acting in an intimidating and bullying fashion.”

Govia’s stance is that increased parking in the road has threatened safety, and that it is the firm’s responsibility to remedy this.

A spokesman told the Comet the firm did not know who had erected the ‘residential parking only’ sign.

He said: “We understand the concerns but the road narrows outside the houses. This is private land and we could be held responsible if someone was hurt.

“If the residents can show they have parking rights then we’ll work with them to widen the road and introduce residents’ parking – that is what we have been discussing and what we wrote to them about.”