Pensioner (87) blasts ‘disgraceful’ parking

Pensioner (87) blasts ‘disgraceful’ parking

13 March 2019

AN 87 year-old Downpatrick man has claimed that parked cars are endangering his life when he tries to leave his home on his mobility scouter.  

Raymond Stubbington is calling for a single yellow line to be installed to prevent cars parking too close to the entrance of the Cedar Court supported living facility in Bridge Street.

He claims that he, staff and visitors to the Cedar Court “take their life in their hands” trying to pull out on to Bridge Street due to their view being obstructed by parked cars  — some of which are parked on the footpath.

“It’s absolutely disgraceful and it’s about time something was done about it,” fumed Mr Stubbington.

“The cars are parked everywhere and too close to the our access. Sometimes they even block part of it. I have to pull out onto the middle of the road before I can get a clear view of oncoming cars.”

He continued: “A lot of the cars are driven by R drivers from the nearby Down High School. There have been problems with cars parking on the road ever since I moved in here four years ago. I’ve tried everything in the past to get something done. I’ve spoken to the former MP, the council, the school, the police and still it’s the same.

“It not only affects me but the other residents and staff and anyone pushing a pram on the pavement who are forced to walk on the road as parked cars are blocking their way.”

Mr Stubbington likes to go into town most days when the weather is good to shop. He needs to drive down Bridge Street on the right side as his mobility scooter could over-balance on the speed bumps. 

His concerns about the parked cars are shared by Cedar Court’s staff.

One staff member, who asked not to be named, said: “I nearly was cleaned in my own car a few weeks ago from trying to pull out on to the road.

“It’s a terrible problem for all of us. And not just for ourselves but also for cars and lorries going up and down the street. There are regular traffic jams out there as vehicles try to manoeuvre around the cars.”

A spokesman for the Department of Infrastructure (DfI) said that it had been made aware in the past of the obstruction issue. But the Department ruled out the installation of a yellow parking line around Cedar Court. 

He said: “As the entrance into Cedar Court is a private entrance and does not form part of the adopted road network, the Department is unable to introduce corner waiting restrictions at this location.

“It is, however, an offence to park across a private entrance, or on a footway, in such a manner to cause an obstruction, whether waiting restrictions are in place or not. 

 “In the past officials have spoken with Down High School to highlight the issue, the last time being in October, 2017. This previously had a positive effect and as such the Department will again speak to the school to ask pupils not to obstruct entrances and footways in a manner that causes inconvenience or danger to local residents.  

“However, if this parking behaviour does continue, then it should be reported to the PSNI, who have the power to address these issues.”

The principal of Down High School, Mrs Maud Perry, said that she was aware of the issue. 

“The safety of pedestrians and road users is of utmost importance. Parking around the Bridge Street and Mount Crescent area is limited,” she remarked.

“We do not encourage students to drive to school. When they do, students are advised through sixth-form year assemblies that there are residential homes in the area and due consideration needs to be given to that. We advise them that they should park with care and consideration and within the law and they are reminded not to park on the pavement. 

“Pupils who drive a car to school provide us with their car details. Should a complaint be left by a member of the public, we attempt to identify the driver and address the issue.”

Mrs Perry added that this was currently a “spike” time of the school year for student drivers as it combined both pupils from its upper sixth year who have been driving for upwards of a year and lower sixth pupils who had recently passed their driving tests.