North Somerset Council has come under fire after installing bollards just a few millimetres wider than a standard car. Locals are up in arms about a move they see as nothing but a paint-scraping, traffic-jam-causing nuisance.
So what is the council playing at, and is it the only council to get under the skin of local drivers?
BollardsThe road in question is between two housing estates, Mead Vale and Weston Village in Worle near Weston-Super-Mare. The Daily Mail went to monitor cars crawling through the gap, and highlighted that the space between the bollards is incredibly narrow. Locals claimed they had seen a number of cars come out of the experience with dents, and dings, and battered wing mirrors.
They also pointed out that it's a busy road, and the bollards had done nothing but create traffic chaos where previously there was calm. Motorist Julian Norris told the Weston Mercury: "It's taking the traffic so long to ease its way through. Sooner or later someone's going to get hurt. You can't get one of those Chelsea tractors through it and it is a major school route."
Why?The Council told AOL that the bollards were deliberately 6 foot 6 inches apart, because further down the road there's a bridge - where it's unsafe for cars that are any wider to try to cross.
A spokesman said there had always been a width and weight restriction on that road, but people had simply ignored it. As a result the road and embankments were getting seriously damaged, so they decided to enforce it with the bollards.
North Somerset added: "The council continues to monitor the situation with CCTV cameras and will make further adjustments if required."
There would be those who would argue that having a width restriction that's so narrow makes a mockery of cars using the road as it is - so perhaps the solution is an upgrade to the road rather than an attack on motorists. Of course, in the current climate, bollards are an easier and cheaper solution, but in the end it's the motorists and their cars which are paying the price.
Not aloneIt shows something of a cavalier attitude to motorists, but North Somerset is far from the only council who could be accused of that.
Outlandish parking charges are rife. The Institute of Advanced Motorists has pointed out that councils made more than £411 million in parking charges last year - an increase of almost 15% in a year.
The council which squeezed the most from its motorists was Westminster, which made £38 million, followed by Kensington and Chelsea which made £27.5 million. Astonishingly the K&C figure was up almost a third from the previous year.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Councils are making record-breaking profits from parking, while cutting road safety spending on life-saving services such as, education for young drivers, cycle training, and safe routes to schools schemes."
They have a variety of techniques - from extending the areas where parking permits are required, to increasing charges, extending the length of time when restrictions apply, and installing new meters.
Bus lane fines are rampant too. There are a host of lanes raking in a small fortune from drivers, from the Glasgow bus lane which made £700,000 in just eight months, to the Plymouth lane which made £850,000 in six months and the bus lane in Haringey in North London, which sends out tickets for £2 million a year.
However, sometimes there are anti-motorist moves which are so poor they are actually entertaining. These include the speed humps outside Cults Academy in Aberdeen that were laid in 2010 and were so far apart that drivers simply drove between them.