Hebburn parking campaigner challenges council over patrols

Hebburn resident John Welsh with his Disabled Bay parking petition.
Hebburn resident John Welsh with his Disabled Bay parking petition.

A protestor against illegal parking in Hebburn has slammed council chiefs for what he claims is a failure to get a planned clampdown out of first gear.

John Welsh, 77, claims a promised increase in patrols by traffic enforcers has yet to happen – over a week after action was announced.

Cars parked in the disabled bays

Cars parked in the disabled bays

The council say they have mounted extra patrols.

To check their effectiveness, Mr Welsh monitored roads around the town’s Mountbatten Shopping Centre at times over four days last week.

The retired professional wrestler says he witnessed repeat offences of illegal parking in disabled bays and in a bus-stop – infringements he caught on camera.

Mr Welsh, who has branded the council clampdown a “disgrace”, has now demanded real, targeted action by South Tyneside Council’s parking team.

Cars in the disabled bays

Cars in the disabled bays

He said: “They have not done what they said they would do and that is clear to me already.

“They made a fuss that they would do something about this, but the problem is just as bad as ever.

“I’ve even told the council the times that are the worst for these problems and when they should be looking to be in the area, but they seem to have no initiative to act.

“If they are not going to do anything with traffic officers then they should put up a camera, which has the benefit of not going to sleep or needing a coffee break.

Cars in the disabled bays

Cars in the disabled bays

“It is a disgrace that they publicised that they were going to do something about this problem but have then done nothing as far as I can tell.”

The council vowed to act on a problem that Mr Welsh, from Hebburn, has raised repeatedly.

He has fought to prevent a tide of cars and vans also being left on pavements and yellow lines.

The council pledged to step up parking enforcement and announced additional patrols on Station Road.

It vowed to patrol car parks and streets and to check for vehicles parked in limited waiting areas, bus stops, delivery bays and those reserved for blue badge holders only.

As well as the new clampdown, it claimed parking was already regulated to improve road safety and traffic flow and support economic activity.

Coun Richard Porthouse, Hebburn North ward member and Chair of the Hebburn Community Area Forum, and Coun Moira Smith, Lead Member for Area Management and Community Safety, backed new action.

At the time, Coun Porthouse said he hoped increased enforcement would help to act as a deterrent.

Coun Smith admitted there was a small minority of drivers who flouted roads regulations.

In response to Mr Welsh’s latest claims, a South Tyneside Council spokesman said: “We carry out daily patrols in Hebburn Town Centre.

“However, following concerns about regular abuse of the disabled bays, we recently increased our enforcement in this area, with Civil Enforcement Officers visiting up to three times a day, every day.

“Since putting these extra patrols in place, there has been a marked increase in the number of Penalty Charge Notices issued.

“Disabled bays are reserved for blue badge holders. We would urge people to adhere to the restrictions in place or risk receiving a fine.”