DANGEROUS and illegal parking on the south bank of the River Wharfe is putting pedestrians and cyclists at risk, it is being claimed.

Local people are calling for action to tackle the problem on the stretch of unadopted road leading to Buon Apps. Labour’s candidate for Otley in the Leeds City Council elections Lucy Nuttgens said residents had brought the issue to her amid fears about the risk of an accident.

She said: “There is growing concern about parking along the road on the south bank of the River Wharfe leading to Buon Apps. Drivers are parking on the pavement forcing people to have to walk in the road especially when pushing push chairs. Some have reported being hooted at by drivers for being in their way.

“When Garnett Wharfe was built, the council decided not to adopt this stretch of road because of a potential flood risk, leaving it to residents to manage. This leaves the residents of Garnett Wharfe in a dilemma. As the estate has not yet been handed over to them they can’t implement a solution, and to do so could prove costly.”

She said if elected, she would work to bring people together to find a workable solution.

Ward councillor Sandy Lay (Lib Dem) said: This is, sadly, all too common. There are many areas in our ancient town including all around Wharfemeadows Park that has the same problem of too many cars and too many inconsiderate and sometimes dangerous driving and parking.”

He said with regard to Garnetts Wharfe Cllr Colin Campbell had facilitated numerous meetings and written to every resident on the estate. They had previously surveyed residents and were fully aware of the issues.

He said the developer, David Wilson Homes, had left the estate in the hands of a residents management company whilst failing to complete parts of the planning application - meaning that some areas of the estate were still awaiting adoption by the council.

He stressed: “Lucy’s assertion that the Council has ‘decided not to adopt the road’ just isn’t what has happened, moreover David Wilson Homes never built the road to an acceptable standard for the council to adopt and indeed have never asked the Council to do so. However, throughout this sorry tale DWH have been adamant that the area around Boun Apps and Mill Lane up to the entry to the estate would be the responsibility of residents.”

He said local city councillors would continue to work with residents and he was sure a solution to the road safety concerns could be found which would not prevent visitors or residents from enjoying Otley’s riverside.

Otley Town Councillor and Green Party candidate Mick Bradley said it was a burden to expect residents on Garnetts Wharf to deal with parking on verges and paths because the road was unadopted.

“Leeds Highways really need to adopt the road because of where it is and to decide, in consultation with residents, whether to limit parking, for example to Bon Apps customers and those with restricted mobility,” he said. “The number of pedestrians and cyclists of all ages using Mill Lane on a summer weekend makes their safety a real concern and warrants, I would suggest, restricting parking at these peak times. Less cars parked can enhance enjoyment for all along this beautiful stretch of the river.”

Yorkshire Party candidate Claire Buxton said if elected she would pursue a two stage approach to the problem of dangerous and illegal parking between Buon Apps and Garnett Wharfe.

“Firstly, in the short term, I would liaise with the council and local police to clearly signpost that drivers should park safely and legally and promote use of the existing, large car-parking accessed from Cattle Market Street.

"Secondly, in the longer term, I would work to bring together the residents and the council to implement a monitored permit parking system for residents. Pedestrian access should remain and be actively encouraged, as enjoyment of this beautiful space is valuable for the physical and mental wellbeing of the people of Otley.”