At what cost Marlborough’s double yellow lines?

Written by Peter May on .


So Marlborough Town Council has finally announced that the long promised double yellow lines for Frees Avenue will make an appearance in June this year. With double yellow lines coming to Hyde Lane at the same time, shouldn’t we all be applauding this as a positive step? Maybe not.

As a motorist and pedestrian who regularly navigates both roads by car and on foot, I can see the need for action. But, isn’t this yet another example of tactical headline grabbing local planning being prioritised ahead of the urgent need for longer term strategic thinking?

I have no evidence to support my assumption but it is reasonable to conclude that the motorists who park every day on these two roads do so because they have jobs in the shop/cafes/restaurants/offices in the town. And why do they choose to park there? Perhaps the extortionate parking charges imposed by Wiltshire Council in the town’s car parks may be a factor? The cost of eight or nine hours parking can make a big hole in a day’s pay.

And therein lies the problem. Painting double yellow lines may benefit Frees Avenue and Hyde Lane but this is most definitely a case of moving the deckchairs on the Titanic.

The Marlborough parking ship is well and truly sinking. Those motorists who currently park for free in the appropriately named Frees Avenue and Hyde Lane will not suddenly reform their behaviour and feed parking meters in our already full public car parks; no, it is a pretty safe bet that they will seek out free road side parking elsewhere and that means those cars will be coming to a kerbside near you; most probably parked outside your house, most certainly causing new problems and aggravation, undoubtedly adding to congestion, pollution and inconvenience in residential neighbourhoods elsewhere in the town.

Does that mean we have to paint double yellow lines everywhere? Moving the problem is surely not a solution.

Painting double yellow lines on Frees Avenue and Hyde Lane may give our local councillors a sense of self gratification but it does not solve the bigger issue; where are these cars bringing workers in to the town and money in to the local economy meant to park whilst their drivers go about their work, day in, day out? Isn’t it time for a strategic, long term plan that delivers a coherent solution; perhaps one that includes parking permits, bus services, a park and ride scheme and better use of some of our existing car parks?

I see no evidence of any long term, joined up thinking by our Councillors and I fear for the consequences when those double yellow lines appear in June.

Peter May