Years of parking woe in Littlecauseway

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ANGUS Council is taking steps to alleviate parking problems for residents of Littlecauseway in Forfar.

Members of the council’s Infrastructure Services Committee met last Tuesday when they considered a report by director Eric Lowson which highlighted the difficulties experienced by abuse of the residents’ parking permit scheme.

Members were asked to instruct the head of roads to consult with affected residents on three options available to resolve the situation.

Littlecauseway is in a conservation area of Forfar and is the only remaining street in the town which retains its original cobbled surface. It has been the focus of numerous attempts to ease parking problems for residents over the years.

In the mid 1970s Forfar Town Council pedestrianised the main area with parking areas at each end for residents.

They prohibited vehicles from the main area and restricted parking areas to residents only using a residents’ permit system - the only system of its kind in Angus.

In 1978 Angus District Council converted the entire cobbled length to footpath, revoking the previous prohibition of driving order. Parking areas were formed and bollards erected to restrict access to residents only. However, over the years the permit system lapsed and the bollards were damaged such that abuses of the parking restrictions by non residents began. It was considered that the previous restrictions on the parking areas were unenforceable.

In 1987 Angus District Council reaffirmed the situation which restricted users of the parking areas to residents only, on display of a permit; that situation continued satisfactorily for many years but the permit system gradually lapsed. In 2003 complaints from residents began to arise in relation to increased non-resident abuse of the parking area and the infrastructure service committee agreed to convert the two parking area of Littlecauseway to carriageway in April 2004. That September a Residents Parking Permit Scheme was introduced at the two parking areas with enforcement carried out by Tayside Police, with fixed penalty notices. This came into operation on April 1, 2005 with parking permits issued to residents on application at an annual fee of £25.

In recent times parking by non-permit holders has become a problem with residents unable to park at times and occasionally being blocked in. Tayside Police are unwilling to enforce the current order without necessary signs and road markings. However, Littlecauseway is located in a Conservation Area and the majority of the buildings are listed. It is felt the introduction of road markings would detract from the character and appearance of the area.

In his report Mr Lowson states the existing situation is not operating satisfactorily and there is an increasing level of concern that the “permit” scheme will continue to be abused and will fall further into disrepute without the necessary enforcement.

He lists three options: revoke the residents’ parking permit scheme and make the parking areas free for use by all; reinstate the car parking areas as footpath and remove all parking in these areas; or convert to council “residents” only car park.

He added the council has consistently resisted the introduction of other residents only parking scheme in Angus due mainly to the difficulties of enforcement as well as the potential costs to the council, and the residents, in association with such schemes.