Jim Parker: Victory for people power and Jackie - now all we need is a by-election ...

Torbay Weekly

I guess that like any other area in the country, Torbay's streets and roads simply cannot cope with the numbers or sizes of cars and other vehicles these days.

Some estates were built for one-car families and in some cases just the horse and cart.  And that is why you will you will see cars parked on grass verges, straddling both sides of a narrow road, parked on double yellow lines and in some of the most ridiculous and dangerous places.

Who would dare be a dust cart driver or, with due respect and more importantly, a fire engine driver where every second counts in sometimes life and death situations?

Yet solving the problem is not easy!

Take the Foxhole area of Paignton, for instance, where evidently the rubbish bin crews from SWISCo are having problems with accessing some roads so the powers-that-be decided to introduce the dreaded double yellow lines and ban parking as well as introducing a 20mph speed limit.

The natives were far from happy and once they found out what was planned - and finding out appears to be the issue here - the local authority was forced to make a U-turn.

Kings Ash ward councillor Jackie Thomas took up the cudgel on behalf of the locals. She told them: "The original decision to go ahead with the parking restrictions was approved by the Cabinet Portfolio holder in December last year – however, when I asked about how many people had made representations the reply was zero. Simply, nobody knew a thing about it, including me."

Conservative councillor Jackie raised an urgent question at council and the consultation was re-run.

"Many thanks to everybody who got in touch and made their views known, " says Jackie.

"I have been chasing the decision route and fully expected this item to be heard at the Transport Working Party on May 20. I have asked how many of the residents were allowed to speak to ensure they get to have their say in front of the decision maker.

(The decision maker by the way was Cllr Mike Morey from the Independent Group).

She then tells residents: "I am able to confirm that the Portfolio holder has made a decision not to proceed with this scheme.

"Therefore the proposed parking restrictions that have been advertised in and around Foxhole including Pimms Road, Redwell Lane and New Park Road have now been quashed and will not be implemented at this time

"This is a real victory for the many residents that would have been affected by losing the parking in front of their homes 24 hours a day, seven days a week."

She added: "I have been advised by the council they are looking at other options how to resolve the problems with refuse collections across Torbay, not simply Foxhole focused."

Cllr Morey said: "SWISCo were having problems getting access to some streets to empty bins due to some inconsiderate parking. The consultation went out. There was little response so we thought we would proceed.

" But there was concern that people in the area did know this was going to be implemented so we consulted again for another few weeks. There was a lot of feedback against it so we decided not to take it any further."

The Brixham councillor added: "It is not only Foxhole. There are areas across Torbay where there are narrow streets and problems. Places like Mount Pleasant Road were built for the horse and cart. We had the fire service contact us because they had a major fire in that area and couldn't access the property."

He revealed: "SWISCo will be carrying out an exercise to see what areas pose access issues. There are problems but they will take time and there may be other ways of addressing them."

The timing of the people power victory couldn't be better in some respects, especially if there was a little by-election just around the corner. Wait a minute ...