Darlington Council erects bollards in front of drive after resident paves garden

The driveway, which was only built in March, has been closed off by bollards amid concerns over a nearby school crossing point. Credit: LDRS

A resident was left surprised when a council put up bollards blocking their driveway due to concerns about a school crossing point.

The homeowner in Middleton St George, near Darlington built the driveway at the end of March and received a letter in May saying the bollards would be installed as it was not legal to park there.

She claims neither she nor her husband have used the drive since they received the letter but bollards were still put in place last week.

The drive is located next to a section of tactile pavement installed by Darlington Borough Council in 2018 to improve safety for children and parents crossing to the nearby primary school.

The driveway is located next to a school crossing. Credit: LDR

The council said the bollards had been put there to prevent cars from driving over the footpath.

The resident, who lives on Middleton Lane, said: "I didn’t initially know you couldn’t drive over it, and we only had the driveway done at the end of March. A highways inspector drove past, stopped, and told my husband he was legally not allowed to park there.

“We did have grass and a footpath but the tree roots completely uplifted it, so we installed the hard standing. To be honest, we were totally naive and just assumed as it was a dropped kerb we would be able to use it.”

The council says it was not alerted that the area would be paved and would have warned the residents it could not be accessed due to the nearby crossing. 

The couple’s car is now parked on a neighbouring street and has not been used since March.

“I feel like we’ve been made an example of and discriminated against," she added. "I don’t think they needed to go to this extreme, I’m so embarrassed.

“It just looks awful and whenever I look out the window I’m faced with this. I keep my blinds closed now.”

Middleton Lane is busy at school time with a lollipop lady managing traffic. Credit: LDR

A council spokesperson said: “There must be a properly constructed vehicle crossing if residents want to park on a driveway. The location must be inspected by the Highways Authority to ensure it is safe. We always try to accommodate requests but there are occasions when we have to refuse, for example, if it’s close to a junction or crossing.

“On this occasion, the resident did not contact the Highway Authority before building their block paving. If they had, they would have been advised that a vehicle crossing would not be allowed due to the existing crossing, which is also a school crossing patrol location and has been for many years.

“We have been in discussions with the resident for several months and have explored the possibility of moving the crossing point but this has not been possible due to on-street parking, bus stops and nearby road junctions.

“The resident told us they would be extending their fence to close the gap but this has not happened so reluctantly we have had to install bollards to prevent cars from driving over the footpath.

“It is regretful that we were unable to help this resident but we have a duty of care to keep everyone safe.”

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