FIREFIGHTERS fear illegal parking in Henley is putting lives at risk.
Members of the station’s retained firefighting team say an increasing number of cars parked on yellow lines around the junction of Station Road is delaying them getting to the fire station for emergency call-outs.
Retained firefighters provide cover and are on call if extra help is needed in an emergency. When called out, they drive to the station before joining fellow crew members.
A spokesperson said: “The parked cars create a bottleneck for traffic trying to get through and there’s vehicles pulling out as well.
“The problem is getting worse. It started out with just two or three and now it’s all along the road.
“People have no respect and can’t be bothered to park in actual car parks.
“We’re given five minutes to get to the station and on a few occasions we’ve been two and three minutes late which could be the difference between life and death.”
Community First Responders – who similarly aid paramedics – said they had the same problem with delayed response times meaning the rate of survival for a cardiac arrest was significantly lower.
Henley Parish Council is also calling for something to be done.
Chairman Peter Crathorne explained parking wardens were only in Henley three half days a week and could only issue a ticket after a maximum of 15 minutes had been breached, so enforcement was difficult.
But he said the council had began collecting evidence of illegal parking and obstructions in a bid to pressure Warwickshire County Council (WCC) to do more.
In response to the issue a WCC spokesperson said wardens had visited Station Road 180 times this year but only five of those tickets had been issued.
The spokesperson added: “At this point the low number of tickets issued as a result of these visits suggests a high level of compliance to the lines in place.
“We will continue to monitor the area and would urge members of the public to make every effort to park their vehicles responsibly and legally and consider the life and death consequences of blocking the highway which may delay emergency service access.”