COUNCILLORS have backed residents’ calls for urgent action to address parking issues in a Dorchester street.
Residents of Wessex Road are the latest community in the county town to put their concerns over safety in their road before Dorchester Town Council’s planning and environment committee.
As well as considering comments from residents who were unable to park near their homes and had their cars damaged because of vehicles parking down both sides of the narrow road, councillors were also told the emergency services and the Dorset Waste Partnership had raised concerns about access to the road.
A statement from Dorset Fire and Rescue Service that was considered by members said that its vehicles had encountered ‘access issues’ in Wessex Road on a number of occasions that had ‘hindered our emergency response’.
Committee members echoed the concerns raised by residents and the response services.
Councillor Robin Potter said: “It’s a big problem, especially if the fire and ambulance services can’t get in – a major concern.”
Committee chairman Susie Hosford said the main problems stemmed from workers at the county town’s major employers such as Dorset County Council and Dorset County Hospital not wanting to pay for parking and leaving their vehicles in residential areas during the day.
She said: “The main problem here is people coming in from outside the town and using it as a car park when they go to work.”
Members agreed that the issue of parking restrictions was something that needed to be looked at across the whole town as more and more communities raised concerns about the damaging impact traffic and parking congestion was having on their roads.
However, Coun Hosford said it was also important to look for a short term solution to help the residents of Wessex Road.
She said: “I think we are going to have to look at an immediate short term plan of action and a longer term strategic view.”
Coun Richard Biggs proposed writing to Dorset County Council to look at options available for parking restrictions in Wessex Road and the surrounding area as a matter of urgency and to consult with residents on the issue.
He said: “This is an urgent situation. It’s about access to vital services and it needs to be sorted.”
The committee unanimously backed Coun Biggs’ proposal.