GUEST COLUMN: Drivers should be punished for bad parking, by Sherwood MP Mark Spencer

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I have recently received the news that despite years of hard work to prevent it, the National Planning Inspectors have given the go ahead for the gasification plant at Bilsthorpe.

I’ve been working with the local Residents Against Gasification Experiment group (RAGE) for a long time trying to get their voices heard on this issue, and even spoke at the inquiry in November. Despite the news that a plant in Tees Valley that uses the same experimental technology has failed, somehow the same thing has been approved for Bilsthorpe.

You can see more of my views on my website, but needless to say I’m angry that this experiment will be allowed to affect local residents, and that the voice of local people has not been listened to. I’ll keep supporting people in Bilsthorpe as they look at what further action they can take.

Elsewhere more positive news, I’ve been out with Coun Bruce Laughton opening some new affordable homes in Edwinstowe. This type of housing is exactly what the area needs as we try and support more people and especially help young people find homes. I’m delighted that the project is now complete.

Finally I’m campaigning for changes to parking enforcement in our area. Whilst my little Smart car is pretty easy to park, I have had a lot of complaints from members of the public recently about dangerous parking that seems to go unpunished. I followed up with the councils and police and found that actually the only people who can deal with certain parking offences are fully warranted police officers - not PCSOs and not council enforcement officers. These offences include things like wilful obstruction (i.e. parking across somebody’s driveway, which especially affects those living near schools) and also dangerous parking that contravenes the Highway Code (like parking on a junction).

I think this situation is crazy, given that we are more and more reliant on PCSOs rather than PCs. With that in mind I’ve written to the Chief Constable to ask him to consider changing these rules.