Cumberland Close Car Chaos

Householders in one street near Ruddington village centre say they’re fed up with the parked vehicles now blighting their lives on a regular basis – causing safety hazards and obstruction issues.

Cumberland Close is a cul-de-sac of just 12 properties off Easthorpe Street, very close to the Three Crowns Pub and Three Spices Restaurant and with its entrance just opposite The Cottage Hotel. When such hospitality venues reopened after the lifting of Coronavirus restrictions – with the Red Lion pub car park among those now closed to vehicles to enable outdoor seating – the residents say the parking problem became even worse.

Gary Choo is leading their campaign, petitioning Nottinghamshire County Council for new parking restrictions on Cumberland Close: “Over the years, as these businesses have developed, we have noticed issues arising as a result of increased traffic and indiscriminate double parking on both sides of the road – some on double yellow lines” he says.

The main problems flagged up by the frustrated householders are:-

  • Obstruction to residents’ driveways and damage to property/infrastructure e.g. drainage covers.
  • Access blocked for wider vehicles traveling to residents’ property e.g. ambulances, fire appliances, delivery and bin wagons, etc
  • Parking on the pavement blocking pedestrian access. This means residents and families have to walk down the centre of the road.
  • Damage to cars from passing too closely to each other – especially when large vans are parked on the close.
  • A significant increase in vehicles travelling up and down the close seeking parking spaces.
  • Face to face confrontation between residents and inconsiderate car users.

Resident Pat Oliver says: “I think it’s important to stress that residents are forced to walk down the centre of the close, because cars are parked on the pavement. Even though I consider myself a young 74 year old, this is a concern, as when my 94 year old mother lived here, she couldn’t walk down the pavement. She tripped squeezing between two cars, fell and broke her hip, an accident from which she didn’t recover. This shortened her life. Young children have to walk in the road, again due to parked cars. Denis, on his motorised scooter, can’t ride down the pavements – again an accident waiting to happen due to some of the cars driving fast.”

Pat continues: “9 flats have been built on Easthorpe Street, with only 5 parking spaces. This is pushing more traffic up our very narrow close. It’s just not wide enough to take parking on both sides. Since the pub car parks are used for tables for drinkers, these drinkers are using our tiny close to park, and not only on our close, but on the double yellow lines on Easthorpe Street, and Peartree Orchard.”

Hilary Hann agrees, and says there are other problems: “I have witnessed drug dealing on the Close, and also many noisy drunken people getting into cars and driving off. I have seen many times, men relieving themselves on our ivy in the front garden, yuck!  More people these days are ordering takeaways and need to park somewhere, if only for minutes. This, therefore, is bringing more cars to our saturated Close. Also, why are there no kerbs on Cumberland Close? I have never understood that! Cars just roll onto the pavement!”

Hilary adds: “I don’t think the Council want to comprehend the misery, and anxiety caused by their lack of forethought, and planning for cars in this village. None of the pubs on Easthorpe Street have any off road parking now! With the hundreds of new houses planned for Ruddington, and the lack of infrastructure, parking will become intolerable. The Council must do something positive, for the residents living of Cumberland Close, whom they should recognise, pay substantial Council Tax!”

Laura Trusler, on behalf of Nottinghamshire County Council, responds: “We acknowledge the issues raised by residents of Cumberland Close, Ruddington and look forward to receiving the petition at the County Council, which councillors will consider, debate and respond to. A number of the issues raised, including obstructive parking, damage to vehicles and confrontation between residents and road users are potentially enforceable offences, and as such we advise residents to report these matters to Nottinghamshire Police.”

Laura continues: “In addition, individual residents can also request the provision of H-bar markings to be installed at their own expense. These markings are laid on the road at the base of the driveway to highlight the presence of an access to drivers and discourage obstructive parking. Whilst the markings are not legally enforceable, in some cases they have been found to be an effective measure.”

John Noble of The Three Crowns

John Noble of The Three Crowns agrees the parking on Easthorpe Street is terrible, and needs to be addressed, but says: “I believe it’s a very sweeping statement to put the entire blame on the public houses. The new development taking place across from the ex-car sale garage has also added to the problem, residents with two cars seeking a space on Easthorpe Street, plus the site workers also using the street. It’s unfortunate, and something we wish was different, but unlike all the other venues The Three Crowns/Spices don’t have a car park, and no way of providing and parking.”

However, John reminds us they once tried: “Many years ago, when the Harman brothers purchased The Three Crowns, they did offer to buy the land on the corner of Pear Tree Orchard and turn it into a public car park. However this was refused by the Council.”

Hotel owner Sue Martin points out: “The Cottage Hotel has more than 30 spaces for its 22 bedrooms. We therefore have more than adequate parking for our customers” she says. “It’s only very occasionally when we have a large wedding on that our customers have had to find alternative parking. Residents of Ruddington may have noticed that we have temporarily converted our side car park into an additional beer garden for the summer. This still leaves us with more than enough parking spaces, particularly since most of our visitors currently visit on foot. Our side carpark will be re-designated as car parking space as soon as large events are permitted again.” Sue continues: “As we have the benefit of a receptionist, any customers who are struggling to find a spot in the car park will always ask for guidance – and in all cases we direct them to the village centre.”

Gareth McManus from The Red Lion tells us: “The car park has been temporarily converted in to a outside seating area to comply with COVID-19 regulations and to give us extra capacity. The Red Lion car park belongs to the Red Lion and we don’t bear any responsibility for parking issues in the village” he says. “Maybe the parking issues come from the village growing and a lack of parking space for shoppers and people using other pubs and restaurants in the village. The Three Spices, Three Crowns, Victoria Tavern, Frame Breakers and others have no parking at present.”

The Red Lion car park is being used for seating during COVID-19 to enable ‘social distancing’ at the pub

Gary admits parking on Cumberland Close is not an issue all the time, but it does get intolerably bad: “The problem usually surfaces during the evening and weekends when people use the pubs and takeaways” he says. “We have started a petition to ask for extension of existing double yellow lines, more traffic wardens, pavement bollards and resident parking. We have compiled photographs to submit as evidence to the County Council. However, the process to stop inconsiderate and illegal parking seems so complicated and lengthy! People seem to think that they can use our close as a car park – blocking drives and obstructing our pavements. This has to stop before someone gets hurt.”

If you’d like to sign the residents’ petition, you’re asked to get in touch.

Our thanks to Gary for his permission to use some of his photographs for this story.

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