COUNCILLORS in Oxford have called for a total and complete ban on pavement parking, with traffic wardens handing out fines to drivers who do it.

Oxford city councillors gave their backing to the proposal when they met this week.

One councillor described how the large number of cars parked on pavements around her area of Headington creates a ‘pedestrian slalom’ which makes it difficult for parents with prams or people in wheelchairs to get past.

While there was support for banning pavement parking across the political spectrum, there were also warnings that drivers should not be demonised, as by parking on footways they were making more room for other motorists on the road.

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Parking on pavements is currently illegal in London and has been since 1974, where drivers can face a hefty fine of £70 if they break the law.

However, across the rest of the country it is not against the law except in certain circumstances: for example if a driver is causing an obstruction or parked over double yellow lines.

Councils can also stop pavement parking in particular areas using powers known as traffic regulation orders.

The Government has plans to overhaul the law, and Oxford City Council has just given its backing to the harshest option being considered, which would see the whole country adopt similar measures to London.

When Oxford City Council met on Monday night, Roz Smith proposed a motion calling for her fellow members to commit to using its traffic wardens to enforce the new law, if it is introduced.

The Liberal Democrat councillor said her own ward in Headington had a problem with motorists obstructing pavements and causing problems for pedestrians.

Pavement parking pictured happening on the Windmill Road in Headington. Picture: Ed Nix

Pavement parking pictured happening on the Windmill Road in Headington. Picture: Ed Nix

Ms Smith said: “Pavement parking… produces a pedestrian slalom as we have seen in Headington on the busy Windmill Road with the cars parked haphazardly on the wide portion there. It is particularly annoying when you pass the council car park 70 meters away and it is half empty.”

Based on her proposals, the council will now urge the Government ‘ban pavement parking as soon as possible’.

The council’s Labour deputy leader Tom Hayes added some changes to Ms Smith’s motion, which stated the current law was inadequate for stopping pavement parking and needed to be changed.

During the meeting, Mr Hayes added he thought the original proposals as set out by Ms Smith were too ‘angry’ and said her motion blamed drivers unfairly.

He added: “If we think about pavement parking in a new way that might be helpful. Why do drivers park up on the pavement? It is to leave room for other motorists.

“What we need to do is not just have a ban we are calling for, we need to have a change in attitudes. We are asking them in the round to be considerate to other people, not just drivers.”

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But Mr Hayes, along with all other councillors at the meeting agreed with the substance of the proposal.

The full motion highlighted that ‘dangerous parking, on pavements, in cycle lanes, around schools and in many other instances, has got worse in recent years and causes significant danger and inconvenience to many people including wheelchair users, parents with small children, cyclists, the less mobile, and many others’.

It also said that ‘pavement parking is both an obstacle to active transport (walking and cycling), and significantly hinders the liberty and mobility of visually impaired and disabled citizens.’

Pavement parking pictured happening on the Windmill Road in Headington. Picture: Ed Nix

Pavement parking pictured happening on the Windmill Road in Headington. Picture: Ed Nix

But the councils plans also note that ‘exceptions to the rule’ will need to be kept, such as in areas where there are already half-on, half-off the pavement parking spaces within controlled parking zones across Oxford.

The council consulted a group of disabled people and parents who use prams last year when it made a formal response to the Government’s plans to ban pavement parking.

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There was an ‘overall preference’ to enforce the ban according to the council survey work.

While Oxford City Council does help to fund traffic wardens in the city who currently enforce parking rules, it does not have full control over the roads.

They are the responsibility of the county council, which ultimately oversees the wardens.

Three areas across Oxfordshire currently have no traffic wardens: the Vale of White Horse, South Oxfordshire and Cherwell.

This will change soon however, with funding from the districts and Oxfordshire County Council now agreed, which could lead to a clampdown on bad parking across the county.

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