Thoughtless and illegal parking in the immediate vicinity of Peterhead’s New Parish Church could have led to a potential tragedy recently.
Lisa Marie Phillips had crossed St Peter Street from the library side with her 22-month-old son Harvey in his buggy.
That crossing was made successfully, but when she turned the corner into Prince Street she realised that the pavement was blocked by vehicles parked on it. There were also cars on double yellow lines.
There was no alternative for her but to go off the pavement and round the front of the worst offending vehicle.
However, as she was hurrying along the roadway a bus came round the corner and very nearly collided with her.
She told the Buchanie that she did not blame the bus-driver, who immediately stopped his vehicle and ran back to make sure she was all right.
She said: “Harvey is at the stage that he wants to walk rather than be pushed. Thank goodness he was strapped in his chair when that happened.
“I spoke to a police officer who was in the vicinity and was told that parking on a pavement in that situation is not illegal.”
A spokesperson for the New Parish Church (formerly Trinity Church) agreed that parking spaces were at a premium and said that clarification is currently being sought about the legal status of the wide parts of the pavement adjacent to the church building, whether it is within the curtilege of the church or the property of Aberdeenshire Council.
Once that is established, guidance can be given to church members.
As can be seen from the accompanying photograph, which we understand to have been taken shortly after the incident described above, one of the worst offenders in blocking the pavement appears to be a vehicle belonging to Police Scotland.
Buchan Community Inspector, George Cordiner, told the Buchanie that the circumstances described by Ms Phillips were “very concerning and frustrating”.
“The photograph of the Police car on the pavement adds to my disappointment as it does not reflect well upon us,” he said.
“This is not very considerate of those using the footpath and we should clearly be setting an example to other road users.
“I have spoken to the officers concerned and I am assure this will not happen again.
“We will also speak to members of the New Parish Church and ask that members of their congregation refrain from parking on the pavements in the future.”
He continued: "What Ms Phillips has described could easily have been avoided.
"It is clear that there are a minority of vehicle owners in Peterhead, and the surrounding villages of Buchan for that matter, that are not giving consideration to the safety of other members of the public when parking.
"As an organisation, we give attention when possible to areas where people are ignoring the parking restrictions but unfortunately with competing demands, we cannot police this on a 24/7 basis.
"All too often, in areas such as the double yellow lines across from Peterhead Community Centre, we are seeing drivers park their vehicles without consideration of others just to avoid a few minutes being added to their walk.
"This is clearly not acceptable and these people need to take responsibility for their own actions before it proves too late and a unnecessary tragedy results from it," he added.