Ottery parking blight is ‘risking lives’

INCONSIDERATE drivers are unwittingly putting lives at risk with bad parking on tight and tricky Ottery roads.

Emergency services have urged residents to think before they park after incidents where fire crews and ambulances have been blocked while racing to incidents.

Police in Ottery have warned anyone deemed to be causing an obstruction, especially in hot spots such as Batts Lane, Sandhill Street and Slade Road, could see their vehicle towed away- even if parked legally on unmarked roads.

“Be mindful when parking,” PCSO Maria Clapp urged residents, “some cars have been parked just 10 metres from junctions. Fire engines and dust carts have been blocked.”

Officers raised concerns earlier this year when cars parked on double yellow lines in Jesu Street stopped an ambulance on an emergency call.

A South Western Ambulance Service spokesman told the Herald: “It is vitally important that people consider where and how they park their vehicle. Obstructing an ambulance wastes valuable time, which can cost lives.”

Devon & Somerset Fire & Rescue Service joined in the calls. A spokesman said: “Bad parking has delayed fire engines and ambulances from reaching serious incidents.

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“We have noticed that an increasing number of homeowners want to park their vehicles directly outside their properties with scant consideration for the possible access required for fire appliances and ambulances in an emergency.

“Some of the (Ottery) streets are narrow even without parked cars. Obviously, the size of our vehicle being what it is, we need slightly more room to manoeuvre than a car.”

Fire chiefs have asked residents to park close to the kerb, leave space for a fire engine or an ambulance to pass, and leave extra room near tight corners.

“Every second counts when the emergency services are responding to an incident,” added the spokesman, “We would ask people to consider whether a fire engine or ambulance would be able to get to their house in an emergency?”

An East Devon District Council spokesperson said refuse collectors occasionally experience problems with inconsiderate parking.