Controversial Marine Walk parking restrictions at Sunderland seafront to be made permanent, despite objections
Councillors have backed making a traffic order in Sunderland permanent despite concerns being raised over disabled parking spaces in the area.
The city council’s Planning and Highways (East) Committee this week heard an objection had been submitted over a current experimental traffic regulation order in place in the northern section of Marine Walk.
The experimental order had been in place since 27th July 2020, and included the introduction of no waiting at any time (double yellow lines) and a prohibition of motor vehicles except for loading and access to off-street premises.
The order stretches from Grannie Annie’s to the roundabout past Roker Amusements, and helps maintain road safety, especially for pedestrians, and prevents obtrusive parking, according to council officers.
As part of the experimental order process, anyone who wishes to object to the scheme can raise their objection formally with the council at any time during the experimental period.
The committee heard one objection had been submitted to the scheme over concerns of the lack of disabled parking spaces in the area.
However councillors unanimously voted to back the order becoming permanent, highlighting the road safety benefits it provides to pedestrians.
Cllr Denny Wilson, Castle ward representative, sympathised with the concerns of the objector, but noted traffic issues for pedestrians have been gone on for “over 10 years” in the area with numerous “near misses.”
He said: “We’ve had a lot of near misses, a lot of complaints and we can’t keep dodging it.
“The day will come when it isn’t a near miss and we do have a child fatality.
“If you think about it, you’ve got a beach, you’ve got ice cream, and in the middle you’ve got traffic.
“It’s a real accident waiting to happen.”
Cllr James Doyle, Fulwell ward representative, also sympathised with the concerns voiced, but stressed they need to support the needs of pedestrians in the area.
He said: “We have to remain conversant with the needs of pedestrians and make the area safer for pedestrians and cyclists, so on that basis I’m happy to approve the recommendations.”
The objector had raised concerns over the lack of disabled parking bays in the area following the order being put in, adding they are needed to access toilets in the area.
Speaking at the meeting, he said: “Life is very difficult if you’re disabled down Roker. There isn’t really between Roker and you can go along to Seaburn, there are no proper toilet facilities for disabled people.”
However council officers said there is additional disabled parking available nearby with 10 disabled bays just south of the restrictions.
They added in Marine Walk car park, there are 7 disabled bays and in Harbour View Car Park there are 10.
Officers stated the order had not removed any disabled bays, but prevented drivers parking on the road.
They said the order was put in place as the area is heavily pedestrianised, however drivers perceive that they may be able to park at the northern end of Marine Walk.
This led to heavy traffic in both directions with vehicles driving up to try and park, they added.
The traffic order also includes a loading restriction between 10.30am – 8pm to accommodate deliveries to businesses.