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'Confusing' signage cause parking woes

By Mid Devon Gazette  |  Posted: December 04, 2012

Drivers have been fined for parking in the wrong bays in Market Square

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DRIVERS in Crediton are calling for a new town car park after receiving fines because of 'a complicated parking system'.

Parking in the town has long been a problem but councillors are now voicing their concerns over the "confusing" road signage which is causing both problems for drivers and parking chaos in the High Street.

There have been suggestions that a new car park, if positioned a short distance from the town centre, could provide a solution to the problem.

Crediton town councillor John Downes said: "What we need is a car park and a by-pass. St Saviours Way Car Park is quite near to the High Street but what people really want is to be able to park up, jump out of their cars, and get into a shop."

Reports of fines being handed out to those parking in the High Street have risen recently, with shared loading bays in the town leaving people confused as to when they can and cannot be used.

And people parking in the bays at prohibited times are causing lorry drivers to double-park on the road as they unload their goods to shop owners and businesses.

Cllr Downes said: "The situation creates traffic problems; signage in the High Street and the parking situation is horrific, it's just horrendous. People don't understand the signage and people are parking in loading bays who shouldn't be – they don't know where they can stop.

"I can't say what the solution is. You have to allow for lorries to unload, disabled parking and people who want to shop. We need something that meets all the objectives

"But what we have is an Eton mess with everyone parking everywhere. One's as bad as the other."

A Devon County Council spokesman said: "The bays in Crediton High Street are 'dual use', allowing loading activities to be carried out until 2pm, with limited waiting provided from 2pm-6pm.

"These bays are not unique to Crediton, they are used commonly around the country and are a sensible way of making the best use of limited kerb space in town centres.

"Devon County Council has liaised with the Department for Transport regarding the appropriate method of marking and signing a dual use bay of this type.

"But we are not permitted to paint a legend on the road.

"Signing is clearly visible to drivers. Whenever a motorist parks in any bay they should check the associated traffic sign to verify what restriction on parking is in place."

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  • Smartcookie  |  December 09 2012, 10:23AM

    Thank you for your help information Barleyman - it opens a big can of worms. I referred to the bay in Market Street which does state 'Good Vehicles', is defective, and is not lawfully enforceable for the reasons given. A combination sign as you describe is not permitted anywhere unless it has been specially authorised (and CORRECTLY authorised) by the DfT. According to current DfT published information there is no authorisation for use of the non-standard signs you describe (not relating to Good Vehicles) anywhere in Devon so these signs are prohibited from being on the highway.

  • barleyman  |  December 08 2012, 7:39PM

    Smartcookie. I hate to say this but I was in Crediton today and what I said about the signs was correct so not wishing to get into a argument you are completely wrong about what is on the signs. There is no mention of Goods Vehicles anywhere and as I said the signs in the High Street read as follows. Loading Only Mon - Sat 8am -2pm and then underneath 45mins parking 2pm - 6pm. Why would that give the impression that to an ordinary driver that they could park before 2pm?

  • Smartcookie  |  December 07 2012, 11:44AM

    Barleyman does not remember correctly, and drivers who wrongly get parking tickets are frequently not to blame. The "loading" part of the sign does not just say Loading Only, it refers only to Goods Vehicles. This bay is NOT a loading bay because "Loading Only" is not written on the road. It is a completely ordinary parking bay where the ONLY parking restriction indicated is 45 minutes limited waiting at some times with no waiting limit at any other time. There is no yellow yellow line or yellow notice to show that parking is prohibited at any times. Part of the sign is clearly headed "Goods Vehicles". It then goes on to state that Goods Vehicle loading is at some times from Monday to Saturday. It is clear to most car drivers, or at least many, that they can park at ANY time for at least 45 minutes and that, if it is of any interest to them, loading by Goods Vehicles is permitted only at the times clearly stated. As they are not driving Goods Vehicles and intending to make loading operations that part of the sign does not apply to them. In any case the sign is unlawfully in place on the highway. It is neither a sign prescribed by the signs regulations or a sign specially authorised and is expressly prohibited. There is a sign that has been specially authorised but the Crediton sign, although similar, is different. Even if it were the same it could not be placed on the highway because the Department for Transport's special direction which would permit it is flawed and not usable for being contrary to statutory requirements - as was decided long ago. It's not an impressive situation and certainly not one that permits lawful issuing of penalty charge notices.

  • barleyman  |  December 06 2012, 7:59PM

    If I remember the signs read Loading Only Mon - Sat 8am -2pm Mon Sat 2pm - 6pm 45 mins no return 2 hours Are they that confusing provided you know the day and time.

  • Smartcookie  |  December 04 2012, 5:08PM

    The situation is not as simple as the Devon spokesman states. It is a deplorable situation. The same unsatisfactory signing used in London and in Hampshire and approved by the Department for Transport has been found to be unsatisfactory by London and National adjudicators in both areas who have allowed parking appeals because the same signage was not satisfactory. One adjudicator condemned both the authority and the DfT outright for this signage which is misleading and contrary in part to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. Another adjudicator agreed that the signage was not enforceable because the Special Direction of the DfT necessary to allow its use was itself not lawful for being being wrongly drafted. One authority actually had admitted in writing that this signage was misleading to motorists and even stated the reasons why it knew it was misleading yet they continued enforcing in their full knowledge that this inadequate signage was widely misunderstood. That amounted to fraud to any reasonable person and the situation in Crediton High Street is no different. These misleading signs together with nothing marked on the road about Loading show that the ONLY parking restrictions are between 2 and 6 pm. There is no prohibition of parking whatsoever indicated at any other time. It is obviously not what is intended but that is exactly what the signs show whether Devon County Council likes it or not so they should not continue to bluster that everything is in order and clear when it is neither. The objective of parking signage is to achieve the maximum compliance of the restrictions by motorists. When compliance is so poor as in Crediton and elsewhere that alone calls for improvement of the signage or different restrictions that drivers can understand and an end to enforcement until that is done. No surprise at all that this misleading parking signage doesn't work as has been proven elsewhere so the council should stop quoting theory and stop enforcement until they have signage in place which is understood.

  • frostosmax  |  December 04 2012, 5:02PM

    It seems not to have mentioned the car park that is just off of Market Street. Granted it's small, and not brilliantly laid out but it is no further away from the town than Market Street is. Of course rather than a new car park this one could be rebuilt and redeveloped, but then charges would go up. Which brings me nicely to the point that the car park is normally half full at most if that... Mr Downes state "what people really want is to be able to park up, jump out of their cars, and get into a shop." where as what people in Crediton actually want is to be able to park up, jump out of their cars, and get into a shop, for FREE." Furthermore, there is nothing confusing about the Dual use bays on Market Square. They have a sign right next to them which states they are a loading bay up until 1400 and then after that they are for 45min parking. This comes down to people parking there without paying attention getting a ticket and wanting someone other than themselves to blame!

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