RESIDENTS of a street that saw five homes gutted by a fierce blaze have launched a petition to ban double parking after fire engines were blocked from getting to the flames.
The petition, launched by resident Gavin Corbett, follows the fire on Hazelbank Terrace, Shandon, last week.
Firefighters reported that they were hampered from reaching the scene of the blaze due to the volume of cars on the historic colony street and the number of vehicles double parked. One fire engine could not even get close to the blaze.
Now Mr Corbett, who lives in neighbouring Briarbank Terrace, has launched the petition, which has already attracted nearly 200 signatures, asking for action to be taken before the parking problems lead to a fatality.
Speaking on behalf of supporters, Mr Corbett said: “This is a wake-up call for parking problems in the colonies. The problems of parking are, if anything, worse the further one goes into the streets. The next time, the consequences may be fatal alongside further traumatic loss of home and possessions.
“We believe that all car owners need to take greater responsibility for not double parking, parking on pavements or in other ways that hinders access to emergency vehicles. The police should be much more consistent and rigorous about taking action on irresponsible parking.
“The city council needs to rethink parking plans for the wider Shandon area and should work with residents to come up with plans that better manage the number of cars or other vehicles that can be safely parked. So far the council have been supportive, but the acid test will be what they do.”
Two years ago the council reviewed car parking options in the colonies, and the initial proposals were for a Controlled Parking Zone in some parts of Shandon, but not in the colonies where the fire took place.
Local councillor Andrew Burns, who backed the original campaign, said the fire had strengthened his desire to sort out the parking situation in the area. He said: “I am supportive of the colonies being included as a CPZ. This situation has brought the issue into sharp focus. I used to live on that street and still only stay streets away, and I completely understand the frustrations felt.
“I have now had it confirmed from senior transport officers that a formal consultation will commence in the first week of October and that everyone in the streets [Shandon Crescent/Street/Road] will receive a letter from the council asking for their views.”
One resident whose house was gutted by a fire said he and his family had to move away for a year while the damage was fixed.
He said: “If this had happened a bit further up the streets, there would have been big trouble and the damage could have been considerably worse.”
A council spokesman said officers were planning to meet residents to discuss the next step. He said: “Any application for a controlled parking zone would have be considered.”