New parking restrictions approved 'in principle' for Hollingworth Lake

Date published: 14 June 2019

‘Extreme’ parking restrictions are set to be introduced at a popular Rochdale beauty spot in a bid to stop visitors blocking a main route.

Crowds of tourists descended on Hollingworth Lake on bank holidays and sunny weekends last year – but double parking along Hollingworth Road sparked a large number of complaints.

Vehicles parked on both sides of the road were said to be obstructing traffic flow, blocking pavements, delaying buses and potentially impeding emergency vehicles.

Visibility was also said to be reduced at certain points, including at the bend close to Lake Bank.

Members of the council’s Pennines Township Committee have agreed ‘in principle’ for double-yellow lines to be installed along Hollingworth Road and Canal Street – a stretch of nearly a mile.

However, the move will not be formally agreed until issues surrounding the lack of coach parking near the lake are looked into further.

The possibility of providing free parking at certain times will also be investigated – Hollingworth Lake being the only part of the borough where council car parks do not offer the first three hours for free.

The decision came despite a plea from a Smithy Bridge resident who asked councillors to consider trialling double-yellow lines before going ahead with the scheme.

She said: “Do we really, really want to lose all those people from spending money at the lake and making it a vibrant place?” 

Councillor Rina Paolucci agreed the proposed measures risked driving visitors away.

She said: “My feelings are that the lake belongs to the people, it doesn’t belong to the council. And we should be encouraging people to go for a walk, cycle and do whatever they need to do.

“If they want to spend money they will, if they don’t, they don’t. They certainly won’t if, one, they have to pay to park, because they will either spend it on parking or they will just go away.”

Council highways officer Chris Woods told the committee that – while the proposal may seem ‘very extreme’ – so were the issues that arose last year.

He added: “We have looked at road layout and road widths and taken into account the sheer number of complaints we received last year.

“Realistically it looks a lot to solve an issue on three or four bank holidays that potentially might be very nice each year. But there’s no other way forward to deal with these issues.”

Councillor John Blundell moved that the committee approved the scheme ‘in principle’ but asked officers to look into coach parking and the possibility of some free parking provision.

He added that introducing three hours of free parking would likely be unviable due to the amount of money the council rakes in from its Hollingworth Lake car parks.

Mr Woods warned this delay would likely mean the double-yellow lines would not be down in time for the August bank holiday.

But councillors voted for Councillor Blundell’s proposal. A final decision will now be made by the cabinet.

Nick Statham, Local Democracy Reporter

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