Dovestone: Council chief urges visitors to act responsibly
Date published: 03 June 2020
A typically chaotic traffic scene close to Dovestone Reservoir
Oldham Council and its partners are urging people to act responsibly when visiting Dovestone Reservoir and the countryside above the borough.
It comes after yesterday’s devastating fire which destroyed a large area of moorland – and wildlife – near to Holmfirth Road.
Councillor Sean Fielding (pictured below), Leader of Oldham Council, said: “Firstly I’d like to say thanks to Greater Manchester Fire Service, council colleagues and partners for responding so quickly.
“Services are already stretched due to the Coronavirus and sadly this fire was the last thing anyone needed.
“We want residents and visitors to enjoy these areas.
"But at the same time people need to be responsible and respect the moors as its some of the most beautiful countryside in England and must be protected.
“If you do intend to visit, respect the place and residents who live there.”
Last year the council introduced a Public Spaces Protection Order – banning fires and barbecues – on the moors following a number of blazes over the last few years.
Last weekend five people from outside the borough were given £100 fixed penalty notices after they were found barbecuing.
And this week the council is taking action after motorists continually ignored existing parking restrictions near Dovestone Reservoir.
From Saturday (June 6) double yellow lines will be marked along both sides of Holmfirth Road (A635).
Anyone who illegally parks a vehicle on this stretch of road will now face a fine of £70.
Council officials used emergency powers to introduce the restrictions after visitors to the site repeatedly caused issues, including blocking the carriageway, footways and parking over access points.
The council was forced to put the extra measures in place as drivers continue to ignore the existing central double white lines already on the road – this is despite offenders facing points on their licence and a fine from the police if they park on them.
Anyone who ignores the restrictions could now potentially be fined twice.
Issues have increased in recent weeks as more people have visited the site for their daily exercise during the Coronavirus pandemic.
The easing of lockdown restrictions may also increase parking issues.
Cllr Fielding added: “Parking at Dovestone has always been an issue, but in recent weeks it has got worse.
“Last week 13,000 cars visited the area over three days – there are only around 150 parking spaces available.
"We had vehicles double parked on the road and emergency vehicles would not have been able to get through.
“People may ask why we haven’t done this sooner but putting double yellow lines on a road is always the last option.
"They wouldn’t be needed if drivers parked responsibly and kept to the rules of the road.
"Hopefully, they will act as a proper deterrent.
“Dovestone is extremely busy – you may what to think of going somewhere else as you could be sat in your car queuing if you go up there.
“If you do, respect the place and residents who live there.
"Act responsibly and don’t take barbecues up as you are potentially putting lives, the countryside and wildlife at risk.”
Chief Inspector Claire Galt, of GMP’s Oldham division, said: “We have been working closely with the Community Safety partnership and have had to commit significant resources to this area, particularly since the easing of lockdown, in response to the dangerous ways that some visitors have been parking their cars, which in turn causes risk to other road users and pedestrians.
“We want people to be able to enjoy our beautiful, open spaces, but it’s important that they do so in a responsible way that doesn’t cause harm to others.
“We have endeavoured to engage with people and educate them on the risks and have used cones and posters to act as a deterrent.
"But unfortunately, some people still continue to park dangerously, leaving us no other option than to issue fixed penalty notices (FPNs).”
The order will cover from the roundabout at the Clarence pub to the borough boundary.
It also includes a loading ban to prevent blue badge holders from parking.
Some of the side road junctions will also be covered to deal with the effects of displaced parking.
Council officials will be monitoring to see if these are needed once the impact of the yellow lines on Holmfirth Road has been established.
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