Parking enforcement brings Okehampton to a ‘standstill’

Ross Bryant
Ross Bryant

Parking wardens are “causing chaos” in Okehampton by refusing to let articulated lorries park in a bus stop for deliveries.

Devon County Council parking enforcement have insisted that articulated lorries making deliveries must park on the road, causing traffic to back up in and around East Street and the town centre. The bus stop in question is used by the route 6 and 6A and is mostly only in use at peak times.

Steven Thomas of Endacotts Bakery has seen their delivery driver continually issued with parking tickets, their regular driver receiving four tickets so far this year. As the business owner Steven is liable for the charge.

“It’s a problem” said Steven. “There are mums with pushchairs and cyclists, people’s natural impatience means that some motorists may start running red lights just to try and get around them.

‘Our big flour delivery comes early in the afternoon and the buses tend to run at peak times. Our flour delivery comes anywhere between
2 – 4pm and it’s essential to our bakery business.

‘There are so few buses in the day that it’s obvious that people should be allowed to park there for deliveries. Even a policeman told the delivery driver to move from the road recently.”

East Street forms part of one of the main routes into Okehampton and the site in question sits at the bottleneck of a junction and traffic lights. When parked on the road as instructed by parking wardens, the lorries obstruct the view for motorists, forcing drivers to overtake with a limited view of the road ahead. The parking also presents a hazard for cyclists.

Lorries seeking to avoid causing congestion who opt to use the relatively quiet bus stop, have been given tickets a number of times. One lorry driver has even made a hand written sign apologising to the public for the seemingly inconsiderate parking. Maxine Thornley who works for Quinns Hairdressing, adjacent to the bus stop in question has also noticed the traffic caused by the obstruction.

“I just feel sorry for the driver, he kept getting tickets and now that he’s had to park on the road and it’s causing chaos. You can see how chaotic the road is, the junction is right opposite where he’s been told to park.”

Councillor Tony Leech who was recently elected as Mayor of West Devon has highlighted the issue to Devon County Council.

“The issue was that we had a genuine problem with people parking in bus stops in the town centre. In response Devon County Council instructed their enforcement team but they have gone too far outside of the town,” said Councillor Leech.

“I’ve told Devon County Council that the bus stop was always used as a loading-bay going back for years, not just a bus bay.

‘The lorries being forced to park on the road has brought the town to a standstill, we have to find a way around this.”

Councillor Leech has since been informed that Devon County Council are looking into the issue.

A hand-written sign in the drivers’ cab read:
“Sorry for the inconvenience. The traffic warden said I should park here, not in the bus stop. If you think this is a bad idea, please tell Devon County Council.”

Local Life