‘Busiest road in resort’ frustrates residents

Parking problems on Westfield Avenue, Blackpool
Parking problems on Westfield Avenue, Blackpool
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Frustrated neighbours say their avenue is being turned into “the busiest street in Blackpool” by students and visitors to a nearby building site using it as a car park.

Residents on Westfield Avenue, in the Highfurlong area of the town, close to Blackpool Sixth Form College and the Aspire Academy building site, both on Blackpool Old Road, say access to their homes and pedestrian routes are compromised daily by inconsiderate parking.

And while they have called for parking restrictions to be imposed on the avenue, an access route for the Mowbray Drive industrial estate, county council bosses have said they have to prioritise areas where parking poses a threat to safety.

Now residents say they hope it doesn’t take an accident for action to finally be taken.

John Nield, 56, said: “At rush hour it becomes ridiculous with drivers trying to find a space to pull into, in order to let other traffic through.

“And pedestrians are being compromised by the thoughtless actions of the drivers of these vehicles often restricting pavement access.

“Everyone on the avenue is affected and frustrated by it.

“Do we have to wait for an accident to happen before something is done?”

Bosses at Blackpool Sixth Form College said they were vigilant with any students found to be parked inconsiderately – but they had limitations of parking spaces on-site, despite having grown in size.

A spokesman said: “We do recognise there is a problem about the lack of parking space available on Blackpool Old Road and surrounding streets.

“We are very sympathetic about the impact this can have.

“We have met with residents of Westfield Avenue and have done all we can to address their concerns.

“We ensure all our students who drive to college have parking permits displayed in their cars.

“We carry out regular checks in the surrounding area and follow up with students who are parked off-site.

“We are not aware of any staff members parking off-site. We have made representations to Lancashire County Council about the matter.

“The County Council will not permit us to increase our on-site parking, despite the very substantial growth in student numbers we have experienced over the past few years.”

Highways bosses at Lancashire County Council, which has responsibility for the road, have said, while they are aware of issues on the road, they have to prioritise areas where congestion causes safety problems.

Highways manager Paul Dunne said: “We’re aware of congestion in this area at times due to people visiting businesses, the schools, college and industrial estate.

“Work is currently taking place to build the school which may be causing a temporary increase in demand for parking.

“In response to the concerns raised we will carry out some observations and a traffic count to find out more about the situation, and whether there is a problem which suggests we may need to consider further action.

“However our approach is to prioritise resources to improve traffic management in locations where there is a safety problem. Here the safety record is good.”