Residents win reprieve in double yellow fight

Opponents to a scheme to introduce double yellow lines in residential streets in Stevenage have won a reprieve.

Residents in Telford Avenue and Scott Road in the Chells neighbourhood were celebrating on Tuesday night after councillors asked for other options to be looked into.

The roads are part of a Stevenage Borough Council review into traffic danger hot spots in the town. The authority received numerous complaints of vehicles parked on bends and near junctions, blocking visibility and forcing head on traffic to reverse or go up on kerbs. Parking on verges and paths was also cited as a danger to pedestrians.

An independent consultant commissioned by the authority to look into the issues recommended a no waiting zone around bends on both roads and a public notice for the proposed work was published in May.

But at a public meeting of the Herts Highways Joint Member Panel, borough and county councillors asked the highway authority to look into a range of other possibilities including widening the road, a 20mph speed limit, a one-way system, and reducing the length of the proposed 40m stretches of double yellow lines. Officers were also asked to look into improving security in a nearby garage block.

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Dozens of residents, many of whom were at the meeting, petitioned the council not to install parking restrictions during a public consultation, arguing that despite council investment of �120,000 in off-street parking bays in the wider area, there is nowhere for them to park.

Some said parked cars actually improved safety for children going to and from nearby Marriotts School, by calming traffic, while nearby garages were unusable because of safety fears.

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Chells councillor Vickie Warwick, who sits on the panel, said the delay was a “victory for common sense”.

“The first time the residents were really able to speak was at the meeting,” she said. “Having heard them, all the other councillors agreed that before we made any decision we had to do a bit more work.

“I have tried not to get the residents’ hopes up. It all depends on funding and what the highways experts come back with.”

She added there was also a danger the council would be left culpable if there was an accident now the parking situation has been deemed a hazard and said the panel would not ignore the problem.

The problem however is not confined to Chells, with parking space an issue “all over the town”, Cllr Warwick said. The council has admitted it cannot keep pace with car ownership in a town originally designed for one car per eight households and areas that can be converted into parking are near exhaustion.

Cllr Warwick said: “Some families have got four or five cars. Stevenage wasn’t designed for this. The town planners could not have imagined how we live our lives now.”

Objections to a parking enforcement order preventing parking on verges and footpaths across the Chells and Manor area were overturned by the panel. Residents had argued it was necessary to allow traffic to flow, including emergency vehicles.

The order, which will now be considered by Herts Highways, is similar to those in place in Bedwell and Pin Green where drivers parking up kerbs and on paths are ticketed - a scheme the council wants to eventually roll out across the town.

The next neighbourhood to be examined by the highways panel is Shephall.

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