Lower Street parking and anti-social behaviour issues
BACKGROUND (September 2020)
On-street parking problems and occasional anti-social behaviour issues continue to be matters of concern for many Stratford St Mary residents, particularly those in Lower Street from where access to the River Stour for recreational purposes, can be most readily obtained.
The experience of the post-lockdown influx of recreatonal river users in 2020, brought this to wider attention and written and oral complaints were received by Parish Councillors from irate residents demanding to know 'what is being done about it' or offering suggestions for action that might be taken.
The July 2020 Parish Council meeting (held virtually via zoom) at which this issue was the prime subject for discussion, was attended by over 30 members of the public. Unfortunately, time did not permit everyone to give their views but many good points were made and with these and a considerable number of written submissons to consider, the council was given much to think about.
Complaints submitted were in respect of littering, dangerous and inconsiderate parking and various forms of anti-social begaviour. Amongst the proposals for remedial action put forward by residents were requests for closure/ restriction of access to the river at both the River Garden and the weir, although such action was strongly opposed by many residents.
The Parish Council, after much deliberation, decided that, althiough it had considerable sympathy for those directly affected, it could not support the proposals for closure of river access. (see separate report).
With regard to other concerns however, the Council decide that it would take what action it could to maintain a safe flow of traffic through Lower Street at all times and encourage and promote more considerate behaviours on the part of visitors parking in Lower Street and accessing the river and nearby foot paths.
That action to include:
installing an additional litter bin (at the weir):
introducing double yellow lines along the west side of the street from the Old Mill site to the Pumping Station and on the east side from the Swan to Matthews Close.
installing fencing and a gate at the river garden:
publishing 'conditions of use' for the River Garden (at the site and on line):
introducing a programme of regular maintenance and monitoring of the River Garden site.
NB: It was agreed that yellow lines would not be appropriate alongside residential properties, many of which did not have the benefit of off-road parking. Consideration was given to the introduction of a residents parking scheme but this possibility was discarded on the grounds that the cost of such a scheme would have to be born by a relatively small number of residents and would likely prove unviable.
It was also suggested that, in parallel with seeking ways to address the currently intrusive parking issues, the council should consider whether reduced speed limits would make the situation in the village safer. As a first step, a road traffic survey was undertaken in Lower Street for one week, commencing on the 29th September 2020. The survey results indicated that the incidence of vehicles exceeding the speed limit in Lower Street was at a level that justified further investigation to determine what corrective action might be possible.
The impact of the above actions will be monitored and their effectiveness reviewed over the next twelve months. Further report will be made as possible.
Anyone needing to report incidence of dangerous or anti-social parking should do so using the recently introduced Civil Parking Enforcement (CPE) reporting tool.
PROGRESS UPDATE (August 2021)
The Council is pleased to report that, as of July 2021 when the double yellow lines were installed, all actions cited above have been completed.
During the Summer of 2021, the steady stream of people wishing to access river and countryside at Stratford St Mary, for recreational purposes has continued but, although there have been some difficult and occasionally unpleasant, incidents, for the most part behaviours have been generally less anti-social than in 2020.
The Coucil continues to monitor the situation on a regular basis and is committed to taking whatever action is available to it to maintain and , hopefully enhance, this improving situation.