LETTER: Ban vehicles from Chesterfield town centre

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Further to Stephen Payne’s letter about the parking situation in Chesterfield town centre, I fully agree that it is indeed chaotic.

What is most irritating about this is the selective way I feel enforcement officers appear to apply the rules.

Read Stephen Payne’s letter here.
I was witness to an excellent example of this recently.

Crossing the top of Soresby Street I had to wait as a car driven by a young woman pulled out.

She had a child strapped into the back and was blatantly breaking the law for all to see as she was speaking into a handheld phone.

I am not sure what it will take for people to start taking this law seriously and obeying it, there has been enough publicity recently about the terrible consequences using a phone whilst driving can lead to. She then turned back down Glumangate. At least she signalled, although still appeared to be using the phone. I saw her park right at the bottom.

A few minutes later after I had emerged from the bank I noticed the car was still there, driver and child having now vacated the vehicle. I walked past and couldn’t see a blue badge, indeed not only was she not parked in a disabled bay but right beside a sign outside NatWest bank saying no loading at any time (so much for that). 
There was another car parked on the corner of High Street and Glumangate in front of hers also without any apparent badge or permit. Two choice victims for the ever vigilant wardens I thought.

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Now these officials, who are normally zealously swarming the streets in their dozens looking to add to the council’s coffers at every available opportunity were, on this occasion, conspicuous by their absence. Where are they all I wondered? I need not have feared, because sure enough I soon spotted one engaged in conversation with the staff outside the cheese shop.

I waited to see if he would finish his conversation before the offenders escaped.

It was so exciting and a very near thing. Just as he left his conversation the young lady returned bearing something large which she placed into the car.

She strapped the child into the back seat and made her getaway, doubtless engaging with the phone again as soon as she could. Within a few minutes she had broken the law and blatantly flouted a parking regulation.

Never mind I thought, there is still another offender for the warden to deal with. Some hope.

Without a glance in the direction of the NatWest he walked the other way down the front of the Market Hall.

Presumably the car wasn’t on his patch or he had issued enough tickets for that day.

Doubtless some will think it rather pathetic my hanging around to see if someone will be issued with a parking fine.

However as a driver who three times in the space of a few months was fined for parking where I was apparently no longer allowed to (two of these when accompanied by my elderly mother and her blue badge) when the regulations suddenly changed a few years ago, and formerly legitimate spaces were designated ‘residents only’ alongside some remaining legitimate spaces, making it extremely confusing, I am now so careful where I park around the town, whilst others it seems can pull up where they like and break the law with dismissive impunity.

The bottom line is that Chesterfield town centre is not, and has never been properly pedestrianised, with vehicles continually being driven down Glumangate back up Soresby Street or into New Square and also along Low Pavement (sometimes even the wrong way), and occasionally even down Burlington Street and High Street at all hours of the day. I have never understood the need to drive and park in these areas after the loading times unless someone is genuinely disabled, and we are aware how much the blue badge scheme is regularly and blatantly abused.

It is time, apart from emergences, that vehicles were completely banned from these areas between 9am and 4pm for the safety of pedestrians who are continually having to avoid them.

David Wright

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