Near misses with coaches reversing down one-way street in Sidmouth prompt warnings

PUBLISHED: 12:25 31 July 2017

The turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8275. Picture: Terry Ife

The turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8275. Picture: Terry Ife

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Pedestrians and motorists are being put at risk by coaches that are forced to reverse into a one-way road in Sidmouth, say police.

The turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8271. Picture: Terry IfeThe turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8271. Picture: Terry Ife

The issue is caused by motorists parking in the Ham turning circle, even though restrictions dictate that no-one – not even disabled ‘blue badge’ holders – is allowed to do so. The illegal parking means coach drivers who have dropped off or collected guests from seafront hotels have been reversing down The Esplanade and into Fore Street to turn around.

Sergeant Andy Squires told the Herald there had been a number of alleged near-misses, although they had not been formally reported to the police.

He said: “Coach drivers have got all the way down to the turning circle and got in a real mess when cars have blocked it - forcing them to reverse all the way down the street.

“While it is an offence for any part of a motor vehicle to cross the imaginary line between two ‘no entry’ signs, I don’t believe that prosecuting each individual coach driver is the way ahead.

The turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8269. Picture: Terry IfeThe turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8269. Picture: Terry Ife

“If it comes to that, then so be it, but we need to educate first and get the turning circle cleared.

“We don’t want to make Sidmouth a ‘no-go zone’ for coach drivers as they bring a lot trade into the town.”

Sgt Squires said people are parking in the turning circle on a daily basis – and they will be ticketed if the drivers cannot be found quickly.

Blue badge holders are generally allowed to park on yellow lines, providing they do not cause an obstruction.

The turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8268. Picture: Terry IfeThe turning circle at The Ham. Ref shs 30-17TI 8268. Picture: Terry Ife

But the turning circle is marked with double yellow lines and stripes on the kerb, meaning that loading is not allowed at any time.

The same restriction is in place around the lifeboat station, along the southern side of The Esplanade and down some of York Street.

Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon’s highways chief, said there are plans to install an official drop-off point for hotel guests on The Esplanade, away from the junction with Fore Street, although it would not be in place until early next year.


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