Crackdown on illegal town centre parking
- Credit: Archant
Patrols of a newly-revamped town centre are to be stepped up to crack down on a proliferation of illegal parking.
Double yellow lines and road signs were removed from Diss' Heritage Triangle area, along with nine car parking spaces, as part of a £3.4m revamp to make the area's historic buildings more attractive for visitors.
But that has led to an increase in cars causing dangerous obstructions, with many motorists confused about the parking rules.
As a result wardens from the Norfolk Parking Partnership are to tour the area to fine increasing numbers of people parking in disabled spaces and causing dangerous obstructions.
They are to particularly target motorists during evenings and weekends.
MORE: New boardwalk on Diss Mere is a hitDeborah Sarson, clerk to Diss Town Council, said: 'There has been a proliferation of anti-social parking.
'It has been an issue for a long time but it has been exacerbated since the Heritage Triangle was completed.
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'Frequently there are cars obstructing crossing points. That is a particular problem for blind people, as they rely on the tactile paving slabs to know where it's safe to cross.
'We've had reports of people parked all the way down St Nicholas Street. We've been working with South Norfolk Council to focus on how we can improve the situation.'
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Mrs Sarson said there had been 'a lot of illegal parking in disabled bays' since the changes to the streetscape in the Heritage Triangle, with road markings now made clearer.
She also said: 'We've tried to remove signs and lines to make it more visually appealing' – but that the area is still a 20mph, no-parking zone.
'People are confused by the removal of double yellow lines,' Mrs Sarson said.
'Some think that means they can park anywhere. It's always been a no-parking zone and the speed limit was always 20mph.
'We're trying to minimise the amount of signs and lines – we now have a no-parking zone rather than double yellow lines.'
Signs are in place in Mount Street and St Nicholas Street to let people know they have entered the zone.
Of one of the signs, she said: 'We appreciate that the sign is not easy to see, but that doesn't change the fact that it's there.
'Ignorance is never considered an excuse.
'It's not because the rules have changed – it's because the way we are managing them has changed.'
People can also still load their vehicles if they are picking up heavy items from a shop, but must move on as soon as they have finished.
The changes caused much controversy when they were finished earlier in the year because of the reduction of car parking spaces in the Heritage Triangle.
Instead, people are asked to park in the nearby Church Street or Chapel Street car parks.
Mrs Sarson said: 'The decision to remove the car parking spaces in Market Hill was not taken lightly.
'An extensive consultation was carried out and we took a lot of factors into account in making the decision.'
However she said it would not be possible with the new design to have had angled car parking spaces like before.