Motorists be warned - be sensible if you head to Dovestone

Reporter: Ken Bennett
Date published: 29 May 2020

Wayward motorists who cause traffic problems at a top Oldham beauty spot this weekend will face tough fines and could have penalty points added to their licences.

Police moved in after chaotic scenes at Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield on bank holiday Monday when a key moorland road was reduced to single lane traffic and gates and entrances were blocked by illegally parked vehicles.

Since then, a sheaf of fixed penalty notices have been issued by GMP officers from Saddleworth and Lees backed by PCSO’s, with fines from £30 to £100, allied to three licence points that can lead to increased insurance payments for car drivers.

The offences ranged from obstruction and contravening double white lines offences, depending on road markings, with police saying they are working hard to put a system in place to make it as easy and quick for officers to enforce offences.

This is set against officers safety along the A635 Greenfield to Holmfirth road, where there are moves to have extra signs and road markings re-painted.

Said a police spokesman: “Traffic PCSO's will attend and continue enforcement of traffic offences at the location, and we are working with our partners on long-term solutions.”

And they underpinned an earlier warning saying any vehicle parked in contravention of the road markings will be subject of a fine, with photographic evidence to support.  

The spokesman added: “Please do not park along Holmfirth Road except in the designated lay-bus and car parks. 

"We will robustly enforce traffic law at that location and will continue to work with partners and the local community in minimising the chances of a serious accident.”

Authorities say Dovestone is particularly busy and is 'best avoided' despite no car park charges.

Toilets remain closed.

A spokeswoman for site owners United Utilities said: "We are not encouraging people to visit our sites, we are simply following government advice which is that the public can now drive to a place to exercise. 

"We are asking people to be sensible.

"Some sites are very busy.

"If you cannot find a parking place please do not park irresponsibly or illegally.

"We never allow swimming, fires, barbecues or camping at any time.

"Please follow social distancing guidelines and keep a two-metre distance to ensure the safety of yourself, other visitors and our staff." 

Visitors are urged to follow the Countryside Code if they do use the land for their exercise.

This includes:

Taking your litter home, or using the available bins

Keeping dogs under control for the safety of livestock and others

Respecting farmers at work on the land by leaving gates as you find them

Sticking to paths when walking, running or cycling to protect the sensitive ecosystems that form the habitats on the site

Guarding against wildfires by not bringing BBQs and taking care with discarded cigarettes

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