Swanage councillors recommend removal of parking spaces for bin lorry access

The newly created on-street parking on the High Street near the library, is being recommended to be scrapped, after residents complained that the bin lorry can’t get up Mount Pleasant Lane due to the parked vehicles.

The additional parking in front of the solicitors, Ellis Jones’ new premises was created as part of the reorganisation of parking and loading bays on Station Road, Institute Road and further up the High Street earlier in 2020.

However, Mount Pleasant Lane, which is a narrow no through road off the High Street can only be accessed by lorries if they reverse up the lane.

Mount Pleasant Lane at junction with High Street, Swanage
Mount Pleasant Lane off High Street, Swanage

Large lorries have to reverse up Mount Pleasant Lane as they can’t turn round in the no through road

At times have had to abandon collections

Residents say that when cars are parked opposite the junction on the High Street, large vehicles can’t always swing round to reverse. They say this means refuse lorries are having difficulty reversing and at times have had to abandon collections.

Now Dorset Council is consulting on plans to remove two to three parking spaces opposite the Mount Pleasant Lane junction, so the matter was discussed at the Swanage Town Council transport committee on Wednesday 25th November 2020.

This includes reinstating parking further up the road towards the Town Hall. This had been removed because of the narrowness of the road, causing difficulty for some vehicles to pass. However for much of the summer, vehicles have continued to park along this stretch.

High Street by Swanage Town Hall

The High Street pictured during summer 2020, narrows by Swanage Town Hall

“There’s a safety aspect to reinstating parking”

Swanage Deputy Mayor, Councillor Avril Harris said:

“It’s a very narrow piece of road and there’s some very large cars now that park there …and there are still large vehicles going up the High Street…There’s a safety aspect to reinstating parking on that strip close to Town Hall Lane.”

“I don’t think there’s ever been a major accident there”

Swanage Mayor, Councillor Mike Bonfield said:

“I probably come down on the side of reinstating what was there. It is narrow – yes, there have been a couple of wing mirrors broken but I don’t think there’s ever been a major accident there and I think the damage the shopkeepers would say we’re doing to their businesses (if the overall amount of parking was reduced), worries me.”

“We’ve never had any complaints”

The chair of the transport committee, Councillor Mike Whitwam concurred:

“I’m in full agreement with what Councillor Bonfield has said – yes apart from a couple of wing mirrors, we’ve never had any complaints or anything serious down there when parking was allowed.”

Dorset Council to make the final decision

Following the discussion, a majority of councillors voted to remove the parking that obstructed the Mount Pleasant Lane junction and to reinstate the on-street parking further up the road, back to what it was before it was changed.

This decision will now be fed back to Dorset Council highways department, who will look at all the responses including those of the emergency services. It will then be down to Dorset Council to make the final decision.

Mount Pleasant Lane off the High Street, Swanage

Refuse lorries need to reverse up to the top of the lane to empty the bins at the top of the hill

Mount Pleasant Lane off High Street in Swanage

Mount Pleasant Lane is difficult to navigate for vehicles as it’s narrow, on a steep gradient, with a road surface that is in a poor condition

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