Recently, as I’ve been driving around Preston I’ve come to notice that as I attempt to park in certain spots on the road, there seem to be obstructions. It’s the strangest thing, people seem to be fly-tipping in an extremely specific and frustrating way by placing traffic cones on the side of the road. Obviously I understand they’re an awkward shape to fit in bins but placing them on the side of the road so precisely? It really does seem like some premeditated thought has gone into it.Advertisement
Some people have suggested that these are being placed here for the specific purpose of impeding others from parking and thus freeing up a spot for their own car in front of their own house. However, this does seem incredibly unlikely as everyone knows it’s not legal to obstruct the roads like this and, of course, there has never been a legal right to park in front of your home unless you’ve applied and qualified for the relevant parking permits.
A simple rule to determine whether you should place a traffic cone outside your house is to check your property deeds and boundaries; if they include the pavement and road then sure, place away. However, in the likely scenario you don’t own the public carriageways then maybe reserve the use of traffic cones for when you’ve had a few beers and want an amusing hat.
Read more: Feeling peckish? Why not park recklessly at one of these Preston eateries
What’s less amusing is the frequent stories of intimidation and, in extreme cases, damaged cars that arise as a result of confrontations with residents and drivers. Facebook groups are awash with complaints of people blocking driveways or inconsiderate parking; the problem being so pronounced that in 2017 one street even mustered its own ‘cone patrol’ to free up their pavements. Though this movement was quickly disbanded by the police because again, as above, it’s against the rules of the road to obstruct the roads. More recently though, what seems more prevalent are reports of intimidation against people parking legally. One such incident in 2019 actually made the national news with a nurse outright pleading to be allowed to park her car safely without it being vandalised.
Read more: Student nurse starts petition over parking “nightmare” at Preston hospital
Obviously it’s frustrating having someone park in front of your house – believe me I know – there’s a van measuring approximately two miles in length that routinely parks across from my house meaning I often have to slalom three young children with cumbersome school bags safely across the road. Sadly, as the world doesn’t solely cater to my needs, I grin and bear it, or at least scowl and bear it, or at the very least resent it but don’t commit criminal acts of vandalism against the vehicle in question.
Of course, the root cause of much of this is Royal Preston Hospital; a recurrent complaint is that the overflow parking situation at the hospital has exacerbated matters for years. It’s fair to say that no-one, be it visitor, patient, doctor or delivery driver has used the hospital parking facilities and come out of the experience a happier person.
Further to this, the planned hospital multi-storey car park seems to be in perpetual limbo due to funding issues and, for those who’ve been following recent events, it seems unlikely that the hospital will be swimming in capital at any point in the near future.
Read more: Green light for restrictions to tackle problem parking near Royal Preston Hospital
A spokesperson for RPH said: “Planning permission was granted with conditions though the new hospital programme announced this year is in consultation which may affect current plans.
“Staff are encouraged to park at the Preston College site, at PBC, and in the limited areas available within the current RPH site with a free shuttle service also available to colleagues travelling from the satellite parking site at PBC. We work with stakeholders on a regular basis to address individual issues when they arise.”
In the short term, the Facebook group “Share my drive ‘It’s nice to be nice’” is still active, giving people the opportunity to let hospital staff use their drive where possible to ease parking issues.
In the longer term, anyone routinely affected by antisocial car parking should talk to the police for advice and everyone else can, ideally, allow hospital staff to park legally without vehicular molestation; they’re mostly just trying to keep us alive.