No police action over illegal driving in Winchester city centre

Basingstoke Gazette: One driver said he was completely unaware of the regulations, despite signs. One driver said he was completely unaware of the regulations, despite signs.

NO tickets have been issued this year to illegal drivers on a pedestrianised route through the heart of Winchester, despite a survey revealing ten motorists an hour flout the law.

Just weeks after a Hampshire Constabulary spokesman said appropriate action would be taken if drivers were spotted using St George’s Street, Middle Brook Street and the lower High Street, they have admitted only issuing two fixed penalty notices in the past 18 months, both last year.

A Hampshire Chronicle survey last month revealed that 80 drivers in eight hours illegally used the route, which is designated for taxis, buses and access vehicles only.

The ban has been in place for over 20 years – since The Brooks Centre was opened - yet the survey revealed that in the space of eight hours, 39 cars and 41 vans flouted the law.

One driver, who asked not to be named, said he was completely unaware of the regulations, despite signs located at the corner of Middle Brook Street and St George’s Street, and in the High Street by Marks and Spencer.

A police spokesman at the time said: “Officers regularly patrol Winchester City Centre and if they see anyone using the bus/taxi lane illegally they will take appropriate action.”

However, a spokesman said that just because only a small number of fixed penalty notices have been issued, it “doesn’t mean officers haven’t stopped drivers or spoken to them about the restrictions.”

Chris Gillham, of Winchester Friends of the Earth, said he wasn’t surprised to learn how many drivers are rule-breaking, but thinks something needs to be done.

“There’s no point in having regulations if it’s not enforced,” he said.

“The restrictions there have an obvious purpose and it is being abused, and if it is not enforced the abuse will grow. It only takes a bit of enforcement to stop it all together.”

He added: “I think the police generally don’t enforce legislation unless they perceive that people are reporting a problem. They are probably very busy people and won’t do anything unless people point it out.”

When asked about enforcing the ban, Winchester City Council said that dealing with moving vehicles was a police matter.

One retired Winchester police officer, who asked not to be named, said: “To sort this out it needs regular enforcement. I have seen police officers wave drivers through.”

Comments (3)

Please log in to enable comment sorting

2:47pm Wed 2 Jul 14

campfreddie says...

So Mr Gillham, what is the obvious purpose for the regulations? Cars using a shorter route cause less pollution. How many accidents have there been over the last 20 years caused by these "illegal cars"?. On the continent, this sort of arrangement is encouraged by planners. It's called shared space. Something we should encourage more of. Of course, smug sandal wearing WinAcc supporters want to ban the car altogether. Clearly something does need to be done in this instance though and I suggest that we lift restriction and then the police won't have to enforce something that isn't a current problem.
So Mr Gillham, what is the obvious purpose for the regulations? Cars using a shorter route cause less pollution. How many accidents have there been over the last 20 years caused by these "illegal cars"?. On the continent, this sort of arrangement is encouraged by planners. It's called shared space. Something we should encourage more of. Of course, smug sandal wearing WinAcc supporters want to ban the car altogether. Clearly something does need to be done in this instance though and I suggest that we lift restriction and then the police won't have to enforce something that isn't a current problem. campfreddie
  • Score: 3

7:17pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Towag says...

Yes!!.... I was one of the ones who got stopped and penalised and i was doing my job as a Hackney Licensed taxi driver!! ? When the Xmas fare was on and the one way system was gridlocked through Winchester!! The City Council had no idea how long the delays of accessing Silver Hill taxi rank were!! There were elderly folk waiting up to an hour in the cold and rain to get home and the only way we could get to them was via Middlebrook St by Sainsbury's. A belligerent PCSO decided that I was wrong in doing so even though they knew the traffic conditions were extreme.... So it is not accessible to taxis. Why? I do not know, as in most towns and cities throughout the land bus lanes are also accessible to allow Hackney Licensed taxis to get to their passengers. Apparently in Winchester this is not so.... I do despair at times at the rudeness directed at us when motorists just park on the taxi rank willy nilly as if they are entitled!!
Yes!!.... I was one of the ones who got stopped and penalised and i was doing my job as a Hackney Licensed taxi driver!! ? When the Xmas fare was on and the one way system was gridlocked through Winchester!! The City Council had no idea how long the delays of accessing Silver Hill taxi rank were!! There were elderly folk waiting up to an hour in the cold and rain to get home and the only way we could get to them was via Middlebrook St by Sainsbury's. A belligerent PCSO decided that I was wrong in doing so even though they knew the traffic conditions were extreme.... So it is not accessible to taxis. Why? I do not know, as in most towns and cities throughout the land bus lanes are also accessible to allow Hackney Licensed taxis to get to their passengers. Apparently in Winchester this is not so.... I do despair at times at the rudeness directed at us when motorists just park on the taxi rank willy nilly as if they are entitled!! Towag
  • Score: 1

1:44pm Thu 3 Jul 14

Belgarum says...

When a law is regularly flouted with no adverse effects to anybody, it suggests that it is a bad law and should be rescinded.

Good to see that Hampshire Police appear to be using some common sense here, unlike whoever put this regulation in place.

The (so-called) "Friends" of the Earth representative showed his true colours, though - obviously less interested in shortening journeys and reducing pollution than in being anti-motorist.
When a law is regularly flouted with no adverse effects to anybody, it suggests that it is a bad law and should be rescinded. Good to see that Hampshire Police appear to be using some common sense here, unlike whoever put this regulation in place. The (so-called) "Friends" of the Earth representative showed his true colours, though - obviously less interested in shortening journeys and reducing pollution than in being anti-motorist. Belgarum
  • Score: 3
Post a comment

Remember you are personally responsible for what you post on this site and must abide by our site terms. Do not post anything that is false, abusive or malicious. If you wish to complain, please use the ‘report this post’ link.

click2find

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree