A NEW car park will finally open in Dursley town centre next month – while there will be a crackdown on drivers who park in Long Street once the faded double yellow lines are repainted.
The Long Street car park, on the site of the Gazette’s former office in Long Street, is set to open to the public by the end of May.
A Dursley Town Council project, after the authority bought the site, the car park was due to open in February but has been delayed for a number of reasons.
Congestion in Long Street has long been an issue due to parked cars making the road too narrow for two vehicles to pass at the same time.
Technically, those drivers shouldn’t park there, but the double yellow lines are so faded that traffic wardens can’t issue fines.
However, at a meeting of Dursley Town Council on Tuesday evening, Councillor Loraine Patrick, who is also a county councillor, said she would ask the Gloucestershire authority to repaint the yellow lines.
At Tuesday’s town council meeting, Cllr Brian Cairns said of Long Street: “There’s a lack of visibility and width to allow for emergency vehicles to pass. It is too narrow.”
Cllr Sue Creswick, who said she drives along Long Street a couple of times a day, noted that sometimes lorries are forced to mount the pavement to get past.”
The new free car park will offer 46 spaces and the hope is that drivers will no longer park in Long Street, and that more people will visit Dursley.
Town clerk John Kay said: “Although the car park looks finished, there remains work to be done before it can be fully accessed by the public.
“The lighting, CCTV and landscaping works remain to be completed, therefore we estimate the car park will be open to all users by the end of May.”
He added: “Following the demolition of Reliance House a new retaining wall had to be incorporated into the design, which resulted in a redesign of the car park, submission of a planning amendment and a party wall legal agreement with the neighbouring landowner. This delayed the start of the construction works by a few months.
“Once on site the weather, particularly pre-Christmas, delayed the works and we have experienced a delay in the delivery of the lighting columns, therefore we have no lighting, CCTV or ANPR camera.
“We can’t open to the public until the car park lighting is in place as this is a planning condition.”
Cllr Symon Ackroyd, chair of the town council’s Car Park Committee, added: “Although it is taking longer than we originally anticipated, I am pleased at how the scheme is progressing.”
Commenting on whether wardens will begin fining drivers for parking in restricted areas in Long Street once the yellow lines are repainted, Jim Daniels, parking manager at Gloucestershire County Council, said: “If a member of the public can see the double yellow lines then they know there is a restriction and they are expected to comply.
“If the lines are visible and civil enforcement officers believe an offence has occurred they will issue a penalty notice. If anyone believes they shouldn’t have been issued with a penalty notice they can appeal.”