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Concerns over access for emergency service vehicles on Telford housing estate

FIRE engines “struggle” to get closer to emergencies, including arson incidents, on a Telford housing estate because its streets are too narrow and weren’t designed for parked cars, councillors have said.

FIRE engines “struggle” to get closer to emergencies, including arson incidents, on a Telford housing estate because its streets are too narrow and weren’t designed for parked cars, councillors have said.

Emergency vehicles attended two deliberate car blazes an hour apart earlier this week, and Stirchley and Brookside Parish Council member Stuart Parr said the “windy streets” of Brookside are clogged up with vehicles.

Councillor Arnold England said he wants the estate “remodelled”, and advocated demolishing some houses to widen the street entrances and create parking space. He said his case was bolstered by a 29-page document about crime and deprivation, which called for “massive intervention” in Brookside and accompanied £550,000 award from the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner to tackle the problems.

Cllr Parr told the Policy and Resources Committee two cars were set on fire on Birchmore and Burnside. The fire brigade confirmed, on Twitter, that it received calls at 3.14am and 4.17am on Monday, July 27 about these.

“One of the issues was that the fire engine struggled to get down the street because of the parked cars,” Cllr Parr said.

“There isn’t a lot we can do about these old, windy streets. They are very narrow and they weren’t designed for the number of cars we’ve got.”

He said there was also a recent example of a house fire spreading to the garage and the home next door as a fire engine “struggled” to navigate a street.

“I don’t know what the answer is but the answer isn’t nothing,” Cllr Parr said, adding that parking enforcement would “just take money off people who can’t afford to pay fines and have no choice to do what they do”.

Cllr England agreed there were “major problems”.

“I saw a fire engine outside my house that couldn’t get through because there was a parked car on the corner,” he said.

“If you see this report from the PCC, there’s a case in that report on crime for ‘massive intervention on Brookside’.”

He said he and Councillor Jackie Loveridge – who, like Cllr England, represents Brookside on Telford and Wrekin Council as well as the parish council – could present their thoughts at a future meeting.

“Basically, I want the estate remodelled,” Cllr England said. “We’re going to have to knock down every end house on Burnside, Briarwood and Birchmore to widen the roads and create parking.

“This report will help us to move forward.”

Parish clerk Gillian Bailey suggested arranging meeting with the police and fire service during August to discuss the problem, and members agreed to this.

Speaking more generally about PCC John Campion’s funding, which his office secured from the Ministry of Justice’s Safer Streets Fund, Cllr England said any changes “have got to be supported by the wider community; it’s not just a police initiative”. He welcomed the involvement of a housing enforcement officer in the project to work with landlords who rent in Brookside.

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