New action to tackle car sales on Norwich’s grass verges

City councillor, Lucy Galvin, with the damaged verges on the Dereham Road where people park their ca

City councillor, Lucy Galvin, with the damaged verges on the Dereham Road where people park their cars for sale. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2015

Fresh ways to crack down on cars being sold on grass verges around Norwich could be introduced, in an attempt to stamp out a problem which has dogged the city for more than two decades.

People have long complained that cars for sale are left on grass verges, on roads such as Dereham Road and Drayton Road – causing damage to the verges.

But Norwich City Council has admitted that, up to now, its attempts to take action have not always been successful.

The council, through a 1985 act, has the power to take action where vehicles owned by the same person are parked within 500 metres of people, but there have been problems with proving ownership.

However, city councillors on the authority's scrutiny committee have pressed for a new approach to the issue and City Hall officers are looking at alternative ways of tackling the problem.

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Possible solutions include:

• Using powers to move cars considered to be causing a danger

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• Bringing in traffic regulation orders to ban parking on verges

• Banning all car sales on specific streets where there are problems

• Issuing warning letters to car owners

• Using anti-social behaviour, crime and policing act powers to create public spaces protection orders on verges

Lucy Galvin, Green city councillor for Wensum ward, who has been calling for action on the issue, said: 'Norwich's many green street verges make our city pleasant for all, and help to prevent flooding.

'Yet increasingly, they are defaced and damaged due to cars inappropriately parked on them. Many of the cars display notices showing them to be openly for sale, blatantly as a business proposition.

'There are no easy answers - but this is an issue right across the city that simply can't be ignored any more.'

Mike Stonard, Labour cabinet member for environment, development and transport, said officers were looking at ways to tackle the problem, but that a long-term staff sickness had delayed studies into whether the alternatives would be effective.

He said: 'This resourcing issue has now been resolved and officers intend to bring a report to cabinet to consider options early in the new year.

'Damaged verges are found in all parts of the city and whilst one must not lose sight of car sales as a contributor to such damage, most damage is caused by motorists in general, who are often local residents, using them as a parking place.'

He said work took place in 2006 to try to tackle the problem, with traffic regulation orders brought in to stop parking on verges in areas where alternative parking was available.

He said: 'The bulk of the problems that remain are in areas where there is no alternative provision and so any solution is likely to include a redesign of the verge areas to accommodate parking, in the way that the Push the Pedalway scheme on the The Avenues between Colman Road and Bluebell Road will do later this year.

'However, such schemes are extremely expensive and lack of funding is the key reason that past efforts have stalled.'

• What do you think of the state of Norwich's grass verges? Write, giving full contact details, to Letters Editor, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE.

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