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Campaigners fight 'dangerous' pavement parking in Formby

Community campaigners have vowed to stop the scourge of pavement parking in Formby, with councillors saying no one should be forced to walk into traffic in order to pass parked vehicles.

Formby Labour councillors Catie Page and Nina Killen, along with council candidate Carol Richards, have been placing 'Pavements Are For People' cards on vehicles that are parked on pavements.

The cards offer advice to drivers, saying that driving onto pavements is an offence and that cars can be towed away if they are causing an obstruction.

Cllr Page said: "It is an issue that is raised with us over and over again: people are parking on pavements which means people with prams and in wheelchairs are being forced into the road."

Mrs Richards, who will be the Labour candidate in Harington ward at the local elections next May, said: "We believe most drivers do this without being aware of the impact, they might even think they are being helpful by not taking up as much of the road, but drivers have to realise that pavements are for people and that if they cause an obstruction their car can be towed away or they can receive a fixed penalty notice from the police. More importantly, they need to realise that they are presenting a danger to pedestrians who are forced to walk or take wheelchairs, scooters and prams into the road.

"The campaign began last May Bank Holiday weekend. We were talking to residents and visitors close to the beach and we came across so many illegally parked vehicles on drives and pavements. It was clear that this was badly affecting visitors and residents.

"It was obvious to us that the situation was reaching crisis point. Wheelchair users, mums with prams and pedestrians were being forced into the road. We contacted the Pedestrians Association who provided us with cards that can be put on windscreens as a warning to illegally parked vehicles on pavements.

"My own experience as a resident trying to get in or out of St Luke's Church Road on a hot Bank Holiday weekend is equally stressful. The beach and surrounding woodland is so popular now which we welcome but the whole parking issue needs managing before it becomes critical."

Cllr Nina Killen added: "Drivers must be more mindful of the fact that if their parking on the pavement means a wheelchair cannot get past, they are potentially causing an obstruction which is an offence. Your car could be towed away or worse someone could be injured through having to go into the road. We want to raise awareness of this issue rather than go down a draconian route where the police are giving out fixed penalty notices. If drivers stay off the pavement they will not be at risk of getting a ticket." Cllr Killen said work was also being done to improve the parking and traffic situation near the beach in the summer months.

She said: "We are working closely with Sefton Council and the National Trust to improve the parking situation in the beach area ready for next summer. There were times this summer when the situation was untenable for residents with cars blocking roads and driveways and residents being unable to get out or back to their homes. This is unacceptable and we are working on ways to discourage visitors from coming into Formby once the beach car parks are full and dispersing the traffic more effectively to decrease the amount of queuing traffic."

Photo at top (left to right): Carol Richards, Cllr Nina Killen, Cllr Catie Page and Cllr Carla Thomas (St Oswalds ward), a Formby resident who uses a mobility scooter and often struggles to pass vehicles parked on pavements.

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