Tow truck deployed for first time in Studland to control bad parking

Over the hot weekend as crowds flocked to the beaches, Dorset Council had to exercise its new powers to tow away illegally and dangerously parked cars in Studland.

For the first time since making Ferry Road in Studland a vehicle tow away zone, Dorset Council deployed a tow truck on Saturday 17th July 2021 to remove a vehicle that was illegally parked on the carriageway.

Car being removed by tow truck from Ferry Road in Studland (
Swanage Coastguard

A car parked on Ferry Road near the entrance to Knoll Beach car park gets removed by the tow truck

Also issued hundreds of parking tickets

Dorset Council also issued hundreds of parking tickets across Studland and the rest of the council area, over the busy weekend from Saturday 17th to Sunday 18th July 2021.

Last year in 2020, with Covid rules restricting international travel, lots of people chose to visit Studland’s beaches and there wasn’t enough space in the car parks or in the laybys along Ferry Road for everyone to park safely.

Consequently, in desperation to get to the beach, vehicles were parked on both sides of Ferry Road meaning there wasn’t enough space for emergency vehicles and buses to get through.

Cars parked in Ferry Road Studland
Andy Selway

Ferry Road on Saturday 17th July 2021 as the tow truck removes a vehicle

“We really don’t want a repeat of last year”

Swanage Coastguard station officer, Ian Brown said:

“It’s really important that ambulances, fire engines and other emergency vehicles don’t get blocked from getting down Ferry Road. I’m sure no one on the beach would want to prevent an ambulance crew getting to them or their family quickly in an emergency. We really don’t want a repeat of last year.

“We all need to work together to keep the way clear at all times and also not to block the emergency gates. That’s our way to get emergency vehicles down to the beach and any delay could be fatal.”

Cars in Ferry Road

As the car was being removed by the tow truck, an ambulance came along Ferry Road highlighting the need to keep the way clear. This time the ambulance wasn’t in an urgent hurry and was able to wait until the car was removed

The new parking rules

In order to prevent last year’s chaotic scenes, Dorset Council introduced a temporary traffic management order in May 2021 for Ferry Road, allowing it to remove vehicles causing an obstruction.

The new rules mean that no vehicle is allowed to be parked over the yellow line along Ferry Road. Parking is only allowed in the laybys at the side of the road and all wheels must be behind the yellow line.

Busy Knoll Beach at Studland
Studland car park

When it’s hot, Studland’s beaches and carparks get full quickly

Four National Trust car parks in Studland

There is also parking in four National Trust car parks in Studland, as well as additional overflow parking on busy days.

Any vehicle removed from Studland by the tow truck will be taken to the layby off Ulwell Road in Swanage, where it can be collected by the driver. The cost of releasing a vehicle that has been towed is £105, plus £20 per day vehicle storage. This has to be paid on top of the fixed penalty charge.

Car being removed by tow truck from Ferry Road in Studland (
Swanage Coastguard

Here in Ferry Road there is no layby to park in. The car is on the carriageway and across the yellow line

“We’re appealing to members of the public to park considerately”

Councillor Ray Bryan, Dorset Council’s portfolio holder for highways, travel and environment, said:

“It is vitally important that we keep our highways moving and free of inconsiderately parked vehicles, especially during this bout of hot weather where Dorset’s authorities face threats from fire, medical emergencies and public disturbances.

“We’re appealing to members of the public to park considerately, especially at a time when we know how stretched the emergency services already are.

“We issued 520 parking tickets over the weekend; People should check signage and road markings clearly before leaving their vehicles or they risk getting a parking fine or worse, being towed away.

“Dorset Council will take whatever action is necessary to ensure that our colleagues in the emergency services have full access and the ability to quickly respond to any urgent incident.”

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