Pavement and verge parking. I took a few pictures of some stunning examples of parking, planning to prepare a post on the subject and an email to the council. Most of the verge parking was done by residents, people who you would think wouldn't want the area in which they live to look like a day at Diggerland.
But then by coincidence a few days later I received a letter from South Tyneside Council. Once I drew my eyes away from the awful presentation and grammar, I found that our Council was threatening to take action against motorists parking on the green verges. I presume this was prompted by a resident in my street, as residents in adjacent streets with equally Somme-like verge damage haven't received the letter.
So, what will our council do with these anti-social motorists? According to the letter from the Council, prosecution under the Highways Act 1980 or a vague "could be considered to be Criminal damage".
Our councillors aren't much better, where similar anti-social behaviour has been met with appeasement by offering to tarmac, concrete over or replace green verges with parking bays - often using Community Area Forum 'environment' budgets (yes I know, it's bitterly ironic). There's little surprise in this attitude - politicians have become terrified of annoying drivers.
Green tree-lined avenues are disappearing. As a community, we don't value the green verges. We park on them, discard our litter and allow our dogs to shit on them.
At least if you drop litter or let your dog poo without picking it up you can get an on-the-spot fine. If you're a Council tenant and cause problems for the neighbours you will become the focus of the Council's remedial 'Respect' policy, with the threat of an Anti-Social Behaviour Order.
But park on the verge and you get little more than Council hand wringing and feeble letters.
The simple answer is to introduce on-the-spot fines for these vandals. Moves are already under way in Newcastle and London to introduce such schemes. If fining irresponsible parkers doesn't work, then ASBO their ass into showing some R.E.S.P.E.C.T. for something that belongs to all of us.