Town’s illegal parking is putting lives at risk

LIVES could be lost if irresponsible drivers continue to park illegally and cause chaos for the emergency services, it has been claimed.

An increasing amount of careless motorists are parking on double yellow lines in St Margarets Terrace in Weston, behind the Sovereign Shopping Centre.

After a minor fire broke out at the centre’s Burger King on November 6, a crew from Avon Fire and Rescue Service were left frustrated as they were unable to get the fire engines through.

As a result they were forced to take another route and had to carry equipment further.

A spokesman from the fire service said: “Every second counts when any of the emergency services is responding to a 999 call. If we lose time trying to negotiate past illegally or inconsiderately parked cars, lives could be put at risk.

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“Fortunately in this case the incident was small and no-one was in need of rescue, but we’d always ask drivers to think carefully when they are parking as it might be friends, family or even their home we need to reach.”

Manager of the Sovereign Shopping Centre, Nick Cooke, stressed that no parking of any kind is permitted in the terrace, which is the main entrance for shoppers driving in to the centre. This includes no loading, waiting or disabled parking.

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He said about 10,000 people use the car park in the summer months and 18,000 are expected over the coming Christmas period.

He said: “We are keen for the police and the local authority to keep it clear. It’s a two-way road and we have big 40ft articulated lorries coming and going so if cars continue to park there one day they may get scraped all along the side by the lorries.

“Or something more serious may happen. If the emergency services can not get through then lives could be lost.

“It needs to be free for access. The problem has been getting worse more recently too.”

Town centre sergeant Pete Land said if there is evidence of an obstruction then they will look at towing vehicles and warned drivers to keep the area clear.

He said: “St Margarets Terrace is frequently used for parking when it should not be. The fire service was seriously impeded by this. It took them longer to get in and they had to walk further with the equipment.”

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