RESIDENTS in Andover have backed calls for ‘pavement parking’ to be banned in England, on the grounds that it puts people off walking in their neighbourhoods.

Sustainable transport charity Sustrans, which commissioned the UK’s largest study of active travel in urban areas published earlier this week, described the practice as “discriminatory”.

When we asked Advertiser readers on Facebook if they agreed that legislation should be brought in to stop people from parking on pavements, the vast majority agreed.

Pat Steer, Wendy Bushnell, and Scott and Joan Campbell all wrote “Yes”, while Shirley Wilkinson added: “Definitely. The state of some of the grass verges is disgusting. Also some pavements are not that wide, forcing people to walk in the road.”

Christopher Ellis said he is “amazed it’s allowed”, adding: “Many countries in Europe don’t allow it unless a sign states so. A path usually doesn’t have the underlay needed for the weight of a vehicle.”

SEE ALSO: Drivers face £70 fine for parking on pavement under proposed new law

Some also raised concerns about how such a law would be enforced.

Andrew Norris wrote: “Even if it were banned, who is going to enforce it? Because neither Hampshire Police nor Hampshire County Council will bother.”

Fifty-six per cent of disabled respondents to the Sustrans poll of 23,000 people said they feel welcome when walking or using a wheelchair or mobility scooter – known as wheeling – in their local area.

That is compared with 69 per cent of non-disabled people.

The survey also suggested that 55 per cent of residents on low incomes feel welcome, compared with 74 per cent of those in managerial or professional roles.

Fewer cars on pavements would help 70 per cent of people walk or wheel more, according to the survey.

Pavement parking is already banned in London and the UK Government is considering extending this across England.

A ban in Scotland is expected to be introduced by the Holyrood administration next year.

People walk or wheel more frequently than other forms of urban transport, the poll indicated.

SEE ALSO: Demand made for harsher penalties for pavement parking

Half of respondents (50 per cent) do so at least five days a week, compared with 39 per cent for car use, 11 per cent for public transport and 5 per cent for cycling.

The majority of people questioned (56 per cent) want to see more investment on walking and wheeling compared with just 32 per cent for driving.

The UK Government’s spending commitments for England are £27 billion for roads but just £2 billion on cycling and walking, according to Sustrans.

The charity’s chief executive Xavier Brice said: “The evidence is clear that people wish to feel safe and welcome while walking and wheeling, and without parked vehicles getting in their way.

“Pavement parking is discriminatory against wheelchair and mobility scooter users, other disabled people, those with visual impairments and more.

“The UK Government’s target is for half of all journeys in towns and cities to be cycled or walked by 2030. Achieving this will be impossible unless we do more to make walking and wheeling more accessible and inclusive.

“A vital first step is to ban pavement parking.”

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “We want everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of cycling and walking, and our plans are supported by an unprecedented £2 billion package of funding for active travel over five years.

“We are actively considering the options for addressing pavement parking and we will announce next steps as soon as possible.”

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