Illegally parked cars ‘may cause fire risk’

RESTRICTED: Cars parked either side of Walnut Tree Lane may risk lives in an emergency, a resident has claimed.
RESTRICTED: Cars parked either side of Walnut Tree Lane may risk lives in an emergency, a resident has claimed.

Lives could be endangered by cars parked on double yellow lines blocking emergency access in a narrow Sudbury street, a resident has claimed.

Walnut Tree Lane regularly has vehicles parked either side of it close to The Mill Hotel, despite the presence of double yellow lines.

Terry Bagness, who lives in Walnut Tree Lane, said: “The parking here is ridiculous, they block the road and it is the main thoroughfare for fire engines.

“Sooner or later, there will be a blockage around here and it is an accident waiting to happen – if emergency services can’t get through, you never know what is going to happen.”

Mr Bagness claimed the parking problems were caused by visitors to the hotel and nearby businesses and that something needed to be done.

“The hotel and these businesses have to get on to it, but you never see a traffic warden down here even though it is all double yellow lines,” he said.

He added that signs warning users that roads needed to be kept clear could help solve the problem.

Commenting on the Free Press’ Twitter page, Sudbury resident Robert Cole added that there were potential problems concerning emergency access in other areas of the town.

“A fire engine wouldn’t get up New Street at night either,” he said.

“It isn’t a risk, just very awkward. At night, it’s too narrow as cars park both sides.

“Newmans Road is the same, you wouldn’t get to the top. If you did get up there, the crew wouldn’t get out the cab.

“You only have to look at the width of the engine then look at the gap – it’s a question of comparing the fire risk to residents’ parking.”

A Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: “From time to time, the fire engines do find problems with people parking on double yellow lines and restricting access.

“However, at this stage there is not considered to be a significant problem in Sudbury.”

He added that while double yellow lines were painted by Suffolk County Council, their enforcement was the responsibility of the police and additional signs would not be needed if the lines were kept clear of parked cars.

Inspector Paul Crick, of Sudbury Police, said he was not aware of the issue ever being raised with officers before.

“Our officers will go down these roads and have a look, assess the problem and, if there is a parking infringement we will enforce the traffic law,” he said.