Councillor calls for change in law over Welwyn Hatfield verge parking

A DISPUTE has broken out over how best to deal with the problem of vehicles parking on footpaths and grass verges in Times Territory.

Hertfordshire County Council and Welwyn Hatfield Council are at odds as to whether or not to introduce a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to the borough – which would see motorists fined for parking on footpaths and verges.

Two conflicting reports, one from each council, were heard at a meeting of the Welwyn Hatfield Highways Panel.

The borough council is keen to continue using a local by-law to deal with the problem, which by its own admission is “extremely unlikely to end in a person receiving a fine” and “will on occasions be ignored and will not prevent vehicles parking on the verge”.

But Hertfordshire County Council believes a TRO would reduce damage of footways and verges caused by parked vehicles, thereby cutting maintenance costs and improving the environment of the borough.

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A decision on the matter was deferred until April by highways panel chairman Mandy Perkins – the second time she has done so.

“We need to have the whole picture,” Cllr Perkins said.

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“And we didn’t have that.”

In January 2008, Welwyn Hatfield Council turned down near-identical proposals for a TRO, citing cost implications and concerns over such an order simply transferring the problem to another area.

It seems, as far as borough councillors are concerned, that little has changed.

“People have to park somewhere,” Cllr Perkins said.

Liberal Democrat borough and county councillor Malcom Cowan is, however, in no doubt about what needs to happen.

“We have a by-law that is totally ineffective,” Cllr Cowan said.

“This is something new that makes parking on a verge illegal, but the borough council won’t touch it with a barge pole.

“The verges are a key part of the landscape, and they’re being destroyed by a minority.

“This is a heaven sent opportunity to get control of the problem, but the borough council doesn’t want to know.”

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