VILLAGERS are divided over 'draconian' proposals to cover Cartmel with double yellow lines to combat 'irresponsible' parking.

Those who support their introduction believe they will cut congestion and make the village a safer place to live and more welcoming place to visit.

But opponents say the yellow lines will lead to its 'urbanisation' and will put people off paying a visit.

The medeival village has suffered from traffic congestion and increased parking over the years. It has become a victim of its own popularity with visitors flocking to its 800-year-old Priory, popular racecourse and it is has now become established as a top destination for foodies.

As it stands there are some single white lines in the village to discourage parking. But these are unenforceable and there is a limited number of on-street spaces along The Square and opposite Ford Road.

Due to the lack of regulation, 'inconsiderate parking' is a problem and combined with the narrow streets it can often cause traffic congestion and obstructions.

The Cartmel Township Initiative Group (CTI) commissioned a report in 2013 to assess the village's needs.

Ninety-four per cent of villagers wanted something to be done about parking and a signage scheme was the preferred option. But this was scrapped as the signs were found to be too large.

It was decided that double yellow lines were the solution and Cumbria County Council was instructed to take it forward as a formal Traffic Regulation Order. A resident parking scheme is also set to be introduced. It would see each household receive a free permit for a vehicle registered to an address plus a visitor's parking permit.


However, there have been some strong objections to 'blanket yellow lines' being placed on the village's roads.

David Unsworth, whose family have lived in Cartmel for the past 150 years and who owns Unsworth Yard food hall, accepts that something needs to be done about parking but said that the lines would be a sign of 'urbanisation.'

He described the resident parking scheme as 'unworkable.' He believes that with around 100 parking spaces available, residents could fall out over their use.

"From my point of view yellow lines and the completely unworkable resident parking scheme is going to lead to a toxic atmosphere for the village. These are draconian methods."

Barry Dean, chair of the CTI, said that if parking in the village was not tackled then Cartmel would 'grind to a halt'.

He said the CTI had tried to get the balance right between residents, visitors and businesses and believes that with double yellow lines people would be able to walk around and park more safely. He said that visitors would also get a 'better feel of the village.'

"What we are seeking to overcome is the unreasonable parking, where people park wherever they want," he said. "There are congestions where people cannot pass. This is the side of the problem that has existed for 30 or 40 years."

David Crabtree, the chairman of Cartmel Village Society, said that although he appreciated there was 'no easy answer' to the parking problems, the group was in favour of the lines.

"I would have thought it makes a place more welcoming not to have cars all over the place," he said. "If you do not have these parking controls you cannot get fire engines and ambulances down these narrow streets."

However, Mr Unsworth believes that village residents were not given any opportunity to express their opinions before Lower Allithwaite Parish Council voted to accept the suggestion of yellow lines and additional signs to the village car park.

"If you completely and entirely change a village round so that it benefits the residents and people who live here full time, it pulls the heart out of the centre of your community," he said. "It loses that unique aspect of how Cartmel opens its arms to everybody."

He also expressed concerns for the local primary school and doctor's surgery, saying that if there was not enough convenient parking then the surgery would not be used and parents would be put off from sending their children to the school.

Janet Wilkin, a Cartmel resident who has lived in the village all of her life, said that she was concerned that Cartmel would become 'just like Hawkshead'.

"Hawkshead was a thriving little village," she said. "And they built a car park and they put the car park charges up and Hawkshead is dead with empty shops and not a community like it used to be."

The 63-year-old said that she felt like the solution was to deal with pinch points and put more signs to the existing car park.

Mr Crabtree said that there had been 'a number of opportunities' over the past four years for residents to have their say on the proposals, with drop-in events held at the village hall.

Zarina Cretney who co-owns Cartmel Coffee with Julie Woodburn, said that she welcomed the lines and the key issue was that there needed to be more places for people to park.

"I think yellow lines are good because there is absolutely nowhere to park," she said. "If you go to other villages where they do have a car-free zone it's just so much more pleasant to walk around."

However, Chris Hill, who co-owns Hales of Cartmel, said although he recognised there was a parking problem in the village, he had concerns about the yellow lines putting off visitors.

"As a business we think it could have a detrimental effect on people coming into the village," he said. "We do get local business, but throughout the season you do get quite a few people coming in visiting the village."

Formal consultation on the plans will begin on February 2 and will last for 21 days. Residents will be able to put forward their views on the scheme to CCC before it can be introduced around May 2017.