Pickmere News

Statement from the Parish Council about dealing with visitor problems at Pickmere Lake

Pickmere Parish Council Statement October 2022

The Parish Council is aware that a group of persons, the majority of whom “appear” not to be residents of Pickmere, have been attempting to disrupt the Council in the pursuance of its lawful decision to fence the Public Rights of Way footpaths across its land and other sections of its land from continuous public access at certain periods of the year. The Public Rights of Way footpaths will remain open at all times of the year except for a brief period of fence construction.

This decision is one the Council has not taken lightly. It should be noted that nearly all Councillors are residents of Pickmere Parish itself and that all Councillors (irrespective of address) along with the vast majority of Pickmere residents have experienced issues of inconsiderate parking, antisocial and intimidatory behaviour and the gridlock that occurs in the village during busy periods at the lake.

Opinions and solutions have been sought from residents on several occasions and all residents have had opportunities to comment at Parish Council meetings but no single solution, that the Parish Council alone can actually deliver to mitigate these issues, has been forthcoming and therefore the Parish Council decided, following discussion with Cheshire East and the Police, that the option of fences and gates (which would be periodically closed) be pursued as a means of a “fire break” if you will, to disrupt the unwelcome patterns of behaviour that have developed during the last three years.

Visitors have always been welcome within Pickmere for many, many years and the Parish Council does not wish this to change but what is not welcome and what the village is unable to cope with, is simply the huge numbers of inconsiderate and illegally parked cars along with the accompanying antisocial behaviour at certain times by some persons.

Solutions such as further yellow lines and the enforcement of seasonal restricted road parking schemes have been sought and are continuing to be pursued through Cheshire East and the Police but neither authority has the resources or capability to solve all the issues the village has quickly (if ever), some of which are clearly societal issues and not simply legal problems.

A sea change in behaviour seems to have taken place with a sense of overwhelming “entitlement” developing in some people visiting the village.

The residents of Pickmere are also entitled to access their own properties as they see fit, they are entitled not to be intimidated by visitors (and other residents) and to feel safe in their own homes and on their own roads, they are entitled to have the assurance and certainty that Ambulances and Fire engines would have clear and open access to any part of Pickmere if the need arises.

At the moment the residents of Pickmere simply do not have these entitlements at certain times and their own quality of life is impacted severely.

Much has been made of others’ entitlements to have “free” access to the lake for a variety of leisure purposes. It is not the Council’s intention to restrict all access but to put in place controls for the benefit of all those who access the lake and not a noisy and intimidatory minority.

For the purposes of record:-
• The Parish Council has resisted all external calls to open the IROS field – the Parish field nearest the lake in Pickmere – for parking. It appears that many non-residents consider this a suitable and viable option. The Parish Council believes that this would not be in the best interests of the Village and has resisted this call. This is evidenced by the responses received from actual residents to the recent Neighbourhood Plan initial survey where there were numerous calls to protect that space. If any further car parking space was provided somewhere without accompanying parking restrictions on the existing surrounding roads, there simply wouldn’t be less cars….there would be MORE!
• The Parish Council does not own any further land that would be suitable for parking within the Village.
• Other sections of the lake shore are owned privately and the vast majority of such space does not fall in Cheshire East and equally it would be up to those individual private landowners to make their own commercial decisions about offering any parking. The Parish Council has no powers to compel those landowners to open their land for further village parking.

The Parish Council does NOT have the power to:-

• Put down further yellow lines or enforce seasonal parking schemes – that falls to Cheshire East
• Run resident permit parking schemes – that falls to Cheshire East. It would cost each resident of any permit-controlled road annually and would only be possible if every resident on a particular road agreed to be included and that’s if CE agreed to implement any such scheme which following an initial fact finding exercise by our local Councillor Kate Parkinson with CE, is very unlikely.
• Enforce any existing yellow lines schemes with accompanying seasonal parking restrictions- that falls to Cheshire East traffic wardens.
• Deal with any illegal parking such as that within 10 metres of a junction or when blocking a pavement – that falls to the Police.
• Deal with inconsiderate parking – no one should have to deal with that – neither residents themselves nor the Parish Councillors who are residents too.

Parish Councillors are people too who have the right not to be harangued and intimidated, lied about and insulted.