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Sheerstock Saga Continues

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Sheerstock

The parking problem in Sheerstock continues to frustrate many residents.

Railway commuters looking to minimise their travel costs prefer to park in local roads rather than pay for parking at the station — who can blame them? Sheerstock is the nearest location. It seems highly likely that the new Pegasus Way estate will soon be providing additional (free) parking facilities for the railway station — a boon to commuters.

Locals would like to see a parking permit scheme introduced, but legitimate and patient efforts by Sheerstock residents have met with no progress. The Parish Council held a public meeting in January and now argue that the County Council is responsible for finding a solution. Chiltern Railways have offered to make a financial contribution to the costs of introducing a permit scheme, but there has been no movement from the County Council to date.

Some Sheerstock residents therefore began to take their own steps to improve the situation, by seeking to protect their own parking spaces with traffic cones. But one late afternoon in early October, all the cones suddenly disappeared!

Who took them? A letter of enquiry to the transport department of Bucks County Council generated the following reply:
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Dear Mr and Mrs Haddenham Resident

Thank you for your email dated 11/10/13 regarding the removal of traffic cones placed on the highway on Sheerstock, Haddenham.

I responded to a complaint from a resident of Sheerstock informing us that traffic cones were causing an obstruction on the public highway and therefore forcing vehicles to park further from the kerb edge. In places this was occurring on both sides of the carriageway and reducing the running lane width causing a hazard.

I therefore arranged for the cones to be removed from site as it is illegal for traffic management to be placed on the highway unless you are acting for the local highway authority, a utility service or emergency services. I exercised our powers under the Highway Act 1980 to remove obstructions from the highway.

I am well aware of the issues with commuters parking on Sheerstock to avoid the car parking fees at Haddenham & Parkway Railway Station. However, in doing so these commuters are not breaking any laws and are within their right to park safely at the road side given the vehicles are taxed and insured. There are currently no formal parking restrictions on Sheerstock and I know this has been investigated in the past to no avail.

I do not know how yourself and the other residents of Sheerstock obtained the traffic cones, but as far as I am aware these have not been supplied by Transport for Buckinghamshire at any time in the past. I can only assume that these cones have either been legitimately purchased or taken from the road side from previous works on the highway. Even if purchased legitimately, they can not be placed on the public highway.

Unfortunately, unless you can prove if any of the removed traffic cones are rightfully your property, we will not be returning them. I would be happy to arrange for the cones to be put aside in the depot for collection if any specific cones can be identified with a mark, house number or name. If the cones were purchased from a supplier, we would request we see proof of purchase or any form of written communication confirming that the cones are your property. I must add that when I inspected before the removal of the cones, a considerable number appeared to be the property of Ringway Jacobs who are our term contractor at Transport for Buckinghamshire.

I hope the above clearly outlines our position on the matter.

Regards

Matt Whincup
Local Area Technician
Transport for Buckinghamshire
0845 230 2882
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One Sheerstock resident made this comment, in response:

" It's a shame that Bucks CC responds to a single resident's complaint that we've never seen, yet are happy to let commuters park on verges, block access, park on bends, restrict visibility for those of us trying to turn out of parking areas, and ensuring that delivery vehicles have no option but to block the road. If they used a fraction of this energy on sorting out the problems in the first place, it would all be sorted by now! "

Another had this to say, in response to the letter from Matt Whincup:

"Dear Mr Whincup,

I too, as a resident of Sheerstock, found those cones to be unsightly, however the fact that many accidents have been prevented due to their presence has made them tolerable for me.

The persistent parking on corners (which is illegal and happens daily) obscures the view making it extremely dangerous for our children to cycle safely as well as for drivers to pull out of the junctions.
The signs previously put up by the fire service have been ignored, polite notices put on windscreens have been ignored, our pleas for regular visits from local PCSO's in order for them to ticket dangerous parking have been ignored and most frustratingly of all, our pleas (year after year) to Bucks County Council to provide a solution for this ongoing and dangerous problem have been IGNORED!

Your actions as a result of that ONE complaint has once again turned our residential street into an incredibly dangerous place for ourselves and our children.

Your sincerely,

An Angry and Frustrated Sheerstock Resident"

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