Street living in fear over parking wars

TERRIFIED residents in a city centre cul-de-sac have told how they are living with death threats and fear of vandalism after an ongoing war with rogue parkers on their road spiralled out of control.

Monday, 27th November 2017, 7:48 am
Updated Monday, 27th November 2017, 7:51 am
Resident parking on Briery Bauks, Oakfield Place and New Arthur Street, Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Resident parking on Briery Bauks, Oakfield Place and New Arthur Street, Picture; Lisa Ferguson

Neighbours in the Briery Bauks, Oakfield Place and New Arthur Place areas have been besieged by drivers clogging the road with vehicles for the past 18 months after a series of parking control measures ended.

Residents took matters into their own hands by installing bollards after the company responsible for issuing zoning permits went bust – leading to clashes with drivers who have keyed cars, shouted abuse and posted threatening letters.

Council chiefs now want the bollards removed after they were deemed “illegal”, but local people have described the situation as “an ongoing nightmare” as over 200 vehicles regularly cram into the narrow streets.

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A threatening letter handed to a resident

Palliative support worker Gina Jarvie, 49, said residents were fed up of the area “looking like a park and ride,” adding: “We are just about at the end of our tether – the bin lorries can’t get down the street because they are so crowded. I would hate to think what might happen if an ambulance or fire engine had to get down the road.”

“People are so stressed, between that and the amount of carbon dioxide in the street, it is making them ill. It has just been an absolute nightmare for us and we have been forced to put up with it, but enough is enough now.”

Mrs Jarvie revealed bollards were originally installed when the housing complex was built in the early 1990s, but were removed before the millennium and replaced with a parking permit system operated by Town and City Parking Ltd.

However, the firm withdrew from the area around 18 months ago after running into financial difficulties, meaning there are no measures in place to deter commuters from leaving their vehicles.

Women leading the campaign; Gina Jarvie and Liz Lamb Picture; Lisa Ferguson

The situation has now escalated with reports of one driver being chased down the street with a shovel by an enraged resident after a blazing row. It has prompted homeowners in the area to shell out up to £50 each to buy their own bollards online.

A 67-year-old resident, revealed she was subjected to “disgusting” abuse when asking one driver not to park in front of her home so her son, who suffers from serious learning difficulties, could board a bus run by a local support service.

The woman, who told the Evening News she was too scared to be named, said the male driver rolled down his window and shouted at her “Maybe one day your son will be dead and then we could have the space,” in one horrifying incident last month.

In another sinister episode, a note anonymously posted to a local householder read “I know where you live and I have people watching you,” while a man also reported being told he would be “killed” if he ever complained again.

Residents placed bollards but were told to remove them by the council. Picture; Lisa Ferguson

Retired marine engineer John Cook, 67, said residents felt “let down” by the council, adding the increased congestion was “destroying” area.

He said: “It isn’t just about the parking, the extra cars and vans on the street come with other problems. Every morning, we’ll have vans turn up at 6am and of course everyone has to pile out and shout and swear at each other, so they are waking up the whole street.”

“Added to that, we have had drivers who come here and they leave their car parked for days, with no regard for where they leave it. I don’t think they consider what would happen if an emergency vehicle had to come down the street.”

Alan McMurray, 71, accused the council of being “awkward,” adding: “In all the cul-de-sac’s, there is one way in and one way out, so it is impossible for that amount of cars to be in the area.”

A threatening letter handed to a resident

“If I go out anywhere before nine in the morning, I usually have to wait until at least 5:30pm in the evening before I can put my car back outside my house, because I know my space will have been taken within minutes of me leaving in the morning.

“We need to have something done about it sooner rather than later because at the moment, it is unsustainable.”

Town and City Parking Ltd, now trading as Smart Parking, did not respond when contacted for comment.

A council spokeswoman said: “Unofficial parking restrictions have been removed from these public roads as they are illegal. The Council has been working with local residents to help develop a solution to improve parking in the area.”

“We are currently in the process of implementing a legal order to introduce permit parking here and we thank residents for their patience during this time.”

Women leading the campaign; Gina Jarvie and Liz Lamb Picture; Lisa Ferguson
Residents placed bollards but were told to remove them by the council. Picture; Lisa Ferguson