The latest cunning wheeze from Local Government minister Eric Pickles is that drivers should be allowed to park for up to 15 minutes on double yellow lines. He thinks that this is the answer to helping high street retailers out of the current economic woes.
It is important to encourage visitors into town centres, but yellow lines are in place for a reason. Allowing motorists a ‘grace period’ to park for a short period of time would cause danger and inconvenience to pedestrians and other road users, making it harder for people to cross the road and increasing congestion as motorists look for places to park.
The Council is continuously reviewing all parking restrictions and, if we feel that yellow lines can safely be removed, we will do so. We shouldn't have more regulation in place than is necessary.
There are many reasons why trade has fallen in many high streets over recent years, but we believe one of the ways to improve the vitality of town centres is to encourage people to stay for longer. In a number of towns, the Council, in conjunction with local Members, has introduced a lower two-hour parking charge to encourage longer stays. Most towns have free, on street limited waiting for those shorter stays – however road layouts make this impractical in certain towns.
The introduction of a grace period would be impractical to enforce as we would need to employ many more civil enforcement officers to ensure drivers did not treat any changes to restrictions as a licence to park all day.