COUNCIL chiefs are set to get tough on people parking on pavements and grass verges after it was revealed the town hall has paid out £214,522 in compensation to householders.
And that was to just 23 residents in the past three years, working out at £9,327 a head.
As well as that the council carryied out more than 6,000 repairs to flagstones and verges at a cost of £390,000 in the same time period.
Now, a report due before the council’s confident places scrutiny committee on Wednesday is proposing to introduce traffic regulation orders (TROs) with possible penalty charges for peristent offenders.
The report by Coun Kevin Anderson, portfolio holder for environment, states that at present there are no pavement parking restrictions in the borough, but through the use of TROs, council chiefs would be able to fine motorists if accepted by councillors.
The issue was highlighted in December when a pensioner suffered serious injuries after falling while trying to get past a car parked on the pavement outside her home.
Mrs Anderton, of Walthew Lane, Platt Bridge, spent almost eight hours in Wigan Infirmary with injuries including a broken right arm, a fractured left arm, a broken nose and large cuts to her face following the incident on Monday December 16.
Her family said the car had been parked with all four wheels on the pavement for around seven weeks and claimed it should have been towed away for causing an obstruction, but the owner subsequently told police officers it had broken down.
Christine Edwardson, whose partner is Mrs Anderton’s son, said: “She’s in a really bad way, I couldn’t believe how she looked when I went to visit her.
“She fell because of the obstruction and she’s smashed her head against the side of the car.
“The police told us the car didn’t seem to be registered to anybody, which in my opinion means it shouldn’t even have be there.”
Ms Edwardson also hit out at Greater Manchester Police (GMP), alleging an officer who visited Mrs Anderton following the fall told her there was plenty of room on the pavement for pedestrians to walk past. She said: “If you had a pram or a wheelchair you would really struggle. When a 75-year-old woman has such serious injuries I don’t think that’s appropriate.”
Coun Anderson said: “The purpose of this report is to address the ability of efficiently remove the risk of vehicles parking inappropriately and reduce the impact of obstruction and unnecessary damage to footways and verges.
“The specification and structural integrity of our footway network is not designed to sustain prolonged vehicle overriding or parking.”
The report goes on to say that it is recognised that in some areas there may be no alternative for people to park but it does say that orders may be made following complaints by residents, which would then be investigated by traffic engineers before a decision was made on whether to issues fixed penalties as part of a TRO.
Coun Anderson added: “Footway and verge parking is a problem for many residents of the borough and Wigan Council receive many complaints on the subject.
“Such parking also causes damage to highway infrastructure that can result in expensive repair costs and increase the risk of claims from trips and falls.
“At certain locations it is beneficial to allow vehicles to park partially or completely on the footway where no obstruction or danger is committed and this supports the balanced approach being recommended.”
Other considerations in the report include putting up guard rails, bollards or trees to stop people parking on grass verges. Street furniture such as park benches may also be considered.