Wednesday, 27 Sep 2023

Locals’ ingenious response to drivers parking over their drives in major row

A brutal parking war has blown up on a road where residents put up fake “no parking signs” with official-looking police and council logos emblazoned on them.

Locals living on Castle Hill in Newton-le-Willows told the Liverpool Echo that they had “had enough” of antisocial motorists parking their cars across the entrances to their homes.

Such was the strength of feeling in the Merseyside community that residents went to the trouble of producing and then erecting “residents only” parking signs outside their drives.

The signs themselves were carefully designed to include unofficial Merseyside Police and St Helens Council markers.

The fake signs have sparked a vicious row among residents and those that park on the road, with some having gone as far as to brand the notices as “elitist”. Not all of them have been removed but the ones that remain have had the unofficial logos of the local institutions taken off.

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Despite the furore over the placards, residents are standing firm, with one woman, who has decided to keep hers in place telling the Echo: “We’ve been plagued with cars on this road for a long, long time.

“We had one couple leave their car and just go off to Spain. The signs have been brilliant though, we haven’t seen our road like this ever.”

Another resident, who chose to remain anonymous due to the bad-tempered nature of the dispute over the signs, said: “We thought it was a brilliant idea. We thought it would put people off who didn’t know the area who leave their cars and go off to the station, sometimes boarding planes and leaving their cars for a week.

“They park right across the drive sometimes. I had to take my mum to hospital and someone had parked across the drive – I had to call the police to get it towed. It took two hours.

“The signs have caused so much trouble but they did work. Initially we believed that there was permission from the council and police – that’s what we were led to believe. When we realised that there wasn’t, we removed them.”

Local people told the publication that the signs were a last ditch attempt to stop inconsiderate drivers from leaving their cars strewn in front of their drives, adding that ambulances have been unable to enter the street due to the mess of vehicles.

One resident explained: “A few years ago, before we got double yellow lines further down, they used to park on both sides. There was an ambulance who couldn’t get up to my dad who had collapsed.

“They had to park up on the church (at the end of street) and walk up. And not long ago a recycling van came down and then couldn’t get out because of the parking. He was stuck there for a couple of hours.

“When people have stopped me and asked if they can park there, I say ‘I can’t stop you’.”

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Complaints were made to Merseyside Police about the signs and the force responded by asking residents to take them down as they carried the police logo.

The official markers have been removed but some of the signs remain in place.

A spokesperson for Merseyside Police said: “These parking signs have not been erected by Merseyside Police or St Helens Council and our enquiries are ongoing to establish who has placed them at this location. Castle Hill is a public road and a resident’s parking scheme is not in place on this street.

“Anyone found using the Merseyside Police logo without permission or inappropriately may be reported to the College of Arms, which is the official heraldic authority for England.”

Irrespective of the perceived issue on the part of local residents, the council confirmed to the Echo that signs, whether or not they had logos on them, were not legally enforceable.

A St Helens Borough Council spokesperson said: “There is no residents only parking scheme in this area and the signs are not enforceable.

“Drivers are able to park here the same as other residential areas, responsibly and legally, with consideration to the accessibility of residents, pedestrians and emergency vehicles.”

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