Post master fears for business over yellow line plan near store

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A post master fears customers will be driven away from his business if a proposed yellow line scheme goes ahead.

Wilstead Post Office manager Suki Thiarra said plans to put yellow lines near his premises will mean customers will restrict customer parking and cause problems for elderly and disabled people.

Mr Thiarra said: “The proposed lines will run 16 metres from the junction of Dines Close and Cotton End Road towards the Post Office, meaning a loss of about four parking spaces.

“Rural post offices are facing enough pressure without the extra problem of customers not being able to park nearby.”

Wilstead Parish Council proposed the road marking scheme after it became concerned about the safety of pedestrians and drivers at the junction of Dines Close and Cotton End Road, which is opposite Wilstead Lower School.

Mr Thiarra said a delegation attended a parish council meeting last October to oppose the lines. This was followed up with a petition objecting to the plans along with a letter from Briar Bank retirement park residents’ association expressing concerns residents might struggle to get to the post office, which also acts as the village store.

He added: “While I see that people should not be parking there, this is covered by Rule 243 of the Highway Code which prohibits parking within 10 metres of a junction. Why not enforce this rule rather than put down lines?

“Also, the main problem with parking is during school drop-off and pick-up, so why not restrict parking during these times only?”

Wilstead Parish Council chairman Nigel Jacobs confirmed there was objection to the plans, which would see the loss of one legal parking place on Cotton End Road towards the post office.

He added disabled badge holders would be able to park on the yellow lines and cars can also be parked in the village car park in Whitworth Way, which is about 120m from the post office.

He said: “The problem is mainly, but not always, around the start and finish of school. The parish council believes if it is dangerous to park around the corner of Dines Close and Cotton End Road at these times, it is dangerous to park there any other time of day. The restrictions would be operational all the time.”
He added: “The parish council values the Post Office and, because of the concerns expressed, dropped the idea of extending the zigzag lines outside the school so that they went opposite the Post Office.”

Mr Jacobs also said the parish council is led to believe the police do not enforce parking matters as outlined in the Highway Code unless there is an actual obstruction caused and Bedford Borough Council cannot enforce parking restrictions unless these are marked out.

The parish council has not been given any timescale for when the lines, if implemented, would be put on the road.