IMPOSING parking restrictions to combat a congested high street could create a speeding problem in Malpas, residents argue.

Opinion has been divided for years about the road congestion and the lack of parking on the village high street.

Some residents believe the extensive traffic build up causes chaos in such a small community , whereas others think it is a small price to pay for stopping motorists speeding through the village.

But after an ambulance became stuck on the road last week because of the build-up of vehicles, parish councillors decided to look at ways to take action on the long-running issue.

At a meeting of Malpas Parish Council last week, members discussed liaising with the highways and police authorities about the possibility of reviewing the road’s restriction markings.

Vice chairman Chris Whitehurst, said: “What we want to do is review the restriction markings with the authorities and at some point we will take that report to the parishioners and give them the opportunity to comment and use it as an education of the difficulties others can cause by parking on the street.

“We’re looking for their support - if we can’t get people to self regulate, then it is a question of using the law to enforce it which can provide a good deterrent if someone can be put in court for it.”

“At least every month we get residents raising the concerns and it’s not unique to Malpas. We don’t have the bypasses to put something in force so education is the key,” he added.

But Nigel Owen, who owns Londis on the high street thinks the congestion actually benefits the community.

“The only traffic build up is really 20 minutes in the morning and then again in the evening when buses come through; I’ve lived here for 20 years and never known an accident.

“There is no speeding because of all the traffic, which is a very positive thing,” he added.

“Parking restrictions would damage the high street and we don’t want Malpas to become a ghost town.

“Yes, people get upset when they can’t get through but it’s the people who don’t live in the village that are parking there so someone needs to come up with a new car park,” he said.

Resident Diana Mather, agreed, saying she ‘likes Malpas the way it is’.

“It can be difficult to get through the high street but it stops people driving too fast,” she added. “It is sort of nice to feel that you can rely on that.”

But John Oakden, who recently opened a bistro on the high street, thinks the ‘infestation’ of traffic wardens in Malpas could potentially ‘kill off’ the village.

“There is a big problem, especially with big lorries passing through who really shouldn’t be driving through small villages.

“Since yellow lines were introduced, we’ve been absolutely infested with traffic wardens, sometimes up to two at a time which is frightening people away from Malpas – it’s overkill.

“The trouble isn’t caused by people parking illegally, it’s parking legally that’s the problem.

“I don’t know what they can do, because this could end up killing off the village,” he added.

“It is a small village and a lovely one and unfortunately the problem is not all down to its residents.”

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