Tickets for Leighton Buzzard residents after highways schemes push parking into their streets

Residents in part of Leighton Buzzard have been receiving parking tickets after nearby highways schemes have increased the pressure for available spaces outside their homes.

By Euan Duncan, Local Democracy Reporter
Thursday, 26th May 2022, 3:11 pm

A petition has been presented to Central Bedfordshire Council requesting action on three issues in the Vandyke Road area of the town.

It called for a neighbourhood zonal parking scheme to be enforced in the area of Beaudesert, Lammas Walk and Bedford Street, measures to filter through traffic in Vandyke Road and Beaudesert to reduce speed and improve road safety, and the recent introduction of double yellow lines to be reconsidered.

Vandyke Road has a 30mph limit and the introduction of double yellow lines was approved a year ago on safety grounds, according to a traffic management meeting report.

A Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) or parking ticket is pictured attached to the windscreen of a van (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

CBC is responsible for enforcing both off-street and on-street parking restrictions, including resident parking zones, said the report.

Principal highways officer Charlotte Dunham told the meeting: “Vandyke Road is home to terraced houses, with parked cars on one side and traffic calming to create natural passing places.

“Some speed data and volume counts will be investigated, and the collision history reviewed,” she said. “But its expected speeds will be in line with the 30mph limit.

“We’ll reject reconsidering the recently installed restrictions for junction protection, as these were agreed on road safety grounds.”

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Local resident and petitioner Andrew Johnson said: “Following the work carried out in December, residents have found it extremely difficult to park of an evening in an area where this was already an issue.

“The further increase in yellow lines has led to multiple fines for residents for parking illegally at night. The only other option is to park several streets away. This is a major inconvenience for most, especially those with young children.

“It was suggested residents from several streets in the area could make up a permit holders’ only zone. Competition to park would be shared and not burdened on one or two streets.

“This idea was popular among residents and there was positive feedback from the 58 signatures we received. The majority supported a reduction of yellow lines where it’s safe to do so.

“Concerns raised include speeding, especially along Vandyke Road, where it’s believed vehicles travel as high as 60mph,” he added.

Residents are worried about pedestrian safety and would support any measures taken by the council including traffic permeability.”

This is a concept which filters out through traffic to make an area more appealing for walking and cycling, explained the report.

Conservative Arlesey councillor Ian Dalgarno, who chairs the meeting, said: “Parking is an issue. We’ve a piece of work within the council which is looking at how we bring forward residents’ parking zones.

“As soon as we put yellow lines in one area it then shifts the problem to the neighbouring street. And the level of enforcement isn’t helping.

“I’ll ask our team to be more proactive in that area to force commuters out and give the space back to local residents.

“On the permeability of Beaudesert and Vandyke Road, I’ll get officers to complete a speed analysis and volume data research.

“The yellow lines which went in recently was in response to traffic safety issues.”