Dovestone locals demand parking fine blitz

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 27 May 2020

Furious locals are demanding a tough crackdown after hundreds of motorists and sightseers caused chaos at one of Oldham’s favourite beauty spots.

They say a parking fines blitz is needed to discourage illegal parking near Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield and vehicles causing obstructions should face being towed away.

The latest surge of protests came on Bank Holiday Monday, when the main A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road was almost impassable with double parked vehicles.

A professional  security team controlled entry to the reservoir’s car park, but renegade drivers jammed country lanes, gates to farms and access points around the reservoir.

There were no toilet facilities open at the site and in the aftermath, piles of refuse-filled bags were abandoned despite signs urging visitors to take rubbish home.

Angry locals took to social media demanding action, with one saying: “There should at the very least be ticketing where the vehicles are parked alongside double white lines.  

“They are there for a reason in spots where there is more danger from crossing over the centre double lines in one particular direction - or both - usually because of the bends.” 

And bags of rubbish were discarded at the site despite notices urging visitors to take their rubbish home.

A local community champion, David Wheeler, said: “The whole site needs to be re-examined and discussed.

“If Dovestone is to be marketed as a place for hundreds who visit, it needs more amenities. 

"Large bins, for example, like Blackpool promenade.”

Oldham Council stress they are working hard with other partners, United Utilities and the RSPB, to resolve issues at Dovestone.

“We are in regular contact with all parties involved in the running of the site,” said a council spokesman.

“Prior to the bank holiday we said the reopening of Dovestone will be welcomed by residents and we expect it to get busy over the coming days.

‘If you do decide to visit think about your health and that of others - you must social distance.

“You also need to think about the people who live in the area and the countryside.

"Don’t park irresponsibly and do not endanger life and the moors by taking barbecues up there.

“Services are already stretched due to the coronavirus so we all need to work together at this time.”

A spokesperson for United Utilities said: “We would remind visitors that barbecues are strictly forbidden, and if bins are full then you need to take your rubbish home with you.

"The police have been issuing fines when cars are parked dangerously.

"Ultimately people need to use common sense ­- if you can’t park safely you need to go somewhere else or go home.”

A GMP spokesperson said: “We appreciate that this is a national issue and we understand that Dovestone Reservoir is a busy location.

“We are working closely with local authorities to respond to this and have been issuing tickets. 

"We would always encourage people to act responsibly when visiting local beauty spots and to respect the local communities."

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