John Knight's September 2018 Talking Politics column for Macclesfield Express.

8 September 2018

Inconsiderate car parking is a major concern in Macclesfield.  Vehicles parked on the pavement can cause an obstruction and inhibit the independence of many vulnerable people, especially older or disabled people with visual or mobility impairments.  And when pedestrians, such as families with pushchairs, are forced into the road and into oncoming traffic, pavement parking is simply dangerous.

Pavement surfaces are not designed to carry the weight of vehicles, and the added maintenance cost of repairing cracked and damaged paving adds an unnecessary financial burden to cash-strapped Cheshire East Council. 

Research commissioned by the Guide Dogs charity shows that 46% of drivers are unclear about the law on pavement parking.  Cheshire East Council could use Traffic Regulation Orders, with some strategically-placed signs around town to make things clearer to drivers. 

With so many narrow, densely-populated roads running through the town, parking space is at a premium.  Residents’ Parking Schemes can help avoid arguments between neighbours and between local people and visitors.  Local communities - residents directly affected and those nearby - should be fully consulted and communicated with in setting up such schemes, which Cheshire East Council has not always done. 

Of course, the basic problem is that too many cars are being brought into a small, congested space.  More frequent, reliable, comprehensive - and affordable - train & bus services would give many commuters and other visitors to the town centre the option to leave their cars at home.  Shuttle buses, linking communities with shopping areas, the railway station and bus station, could enable shoppers to get into and around town and take the groceries safely home without having to use the car - or a taxi - easing pressure on town-centre car-parks and on-street parking.  Evening and weekend bus services must be reinstated, to reduce our reliance on the car.