Published: 21/06/2018 19:00 - Updated: 21/06/2018 14:00

Backing for ban on pavement parking

Written byNicole Webber

AN MSP has backed plans to ban pavement parking across Scotland after claims the issue as a growing problem in Inverness.

Many wheelchair users and the visually impaired as well as parents just trying to get about with prams claim they are struggling in the face of vehicles parked on pavements and over drop kerbs across Inverness.

MSP for Inverness and Nairn, Fergus Ewing, has now spoken out in support of the Transport (Scotland) Bill which is currently making its way through Holyrood, saying it promises "radical measures" to improve accessibility and prohibit obstructive parking.

"Inconsistent and obstructive parking is a nuisance in our communities and greatly impacts on our ability to easily get around by foot, and so it is critical we empower local authorities to tackle this important issue," he said.

Today a coalition of disability and mobility organisations called on Highland Council to develop an Inverness Street Charter, setting out measures to improve accessibility.

Produced by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in liaison with Autism Rights Group Highland, Guide Dogs Scotland and Highland Cycle Campaign among others their "manifesto" – Putting Inverness Streets Ahead – identifies pavement parking along with other issues such as street clutter and shared spaces for vehicles and pedestrians as restricting safe access.

RNIB campaigns manager Catriona Burness said: "For too many people our streets remain a daily obstacle course.

"We believe a Street Charter would help to enhance the quality of life for residents and, vitally, boost the reputation of Inverness as an open and welcoming tourist destination."

Elsewhere, after wheelchair user David Sansum, from Kinmylies, branded the parking situation in Inverness "a nightmare" in last week’s HN others have taken to social media to share their own frustrations.

On Facebook Paul Tuthill said: "As a powerchair user I find this frustrating. I think the general public lack awareness of the importance of these dropped kerbs." 

And Hilton mother Sara Higgins says it is also an issue for parents.

"Parking on the pavements causes a lot of problems for a lot of people," she said.

"It’s selfish and it’s dangerous and it needs to stop."

However a resident of Bruce Avenue in Dalneigh who did not want to be named also claimed that in some instances, drivers were forced to park on pavements by the lack of any alternative.

He said that it is often impossible to find a space and blamed Highland Council for not providing parking as part of new residential developments.

Speaking about the situation in his own street he said: "I may also add everyone parks on one side of the pavement, leaving the other side clear at all times."

A Highland Council spokeswoman said: "Regardless of whether parking provision is made for any property development this does not give motorists the right to park on pavements which, if causing an obstruction, is a reportable offence enforceable by Police Scotland.

"If waiting or loading restrictions are present these also cover the footpaths and are enforceable by the Highland Council Parking Team."

Millburn ward councillor, Isabelle MacKenzie, said she has contacted Inverness city manager David Haas to try and organise a meeting  with councillors to have the issue of pavement parking discussed as soon as possible.

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