Enforcing parking rules to protect St Albans green space "near on impossible"
PUBLISHED: 17:06 02 October 2018
It is "near on impossible" to enforce parking rules over a controversial grass stretch in St Albans, councillors have heard.
Houses on Sandridge Road are separated from the highway by a wide expanse of green called the Sandridge Road Manorial Wastes - it is common land owned by St Albans district council (SADC) which was historically used to ready livestock for the market.
Many residents have long driveways crossing the grass, but problems arose when Friends of Bernards Heath chairman Peter Cook raised concerns about the “valuable green space” disappearing under gravel and block paving.
For ten months SADC’s City Neighbourhoods Committee have been working to create regulations about who can and who cannot park on the green, as yet without progress.
At a meeting on September 26, SADC evaluation and estate manager Ben Huggins said: “No one has a right to park on the wastes but the teeth to implement and enforce this action seems to be very weak under the Commons Act. You’ve got to show it’s causing a nuisance and is one car on each drive a nuisance or half a dozen cars?
“Basically enforcing people parking on the wastes from the further work we’ve done is going to be very difficult and I would say from my understanding, near on impossible.”
SADC inspections so far have revealed that out of 117 homes there were 17 breaches.
Mr Huggins said residents not properly maintaining their driveway could be taken to court, adding: “But are we realistically going to do that? Probably not.”
The committee will consider the problem again after officers have delved further.
A spokesperson from Sandridge Road said: “I wouldn’t like the issue of protecting the environmental aspects of Sandridge Road to be lost in our sudden realisation that we can’t enforce anything. There is still an issue of loss of grass and tree and plant habitat due to overparking.”
She said it was not about “poxy 4x4s on poxy gravel driveways”.
Cllr Roma Mills said the matter made her feel “uncomfortable”, and that “it is beginning to feel like we are getting nowhere fast with this”.
A suggestion to erect signs asking people to park responsibly was snubbed by chairman Cllr Chris White: “I think we have explored that many times in many parts of the district and it never works. Sorry.”