Residents hemmed in by ‘Pelham Blockade’

Ashley Bolch regularly finds himself faced with a barricade of parked cars
Ashley Bolch regularly finds himself faced with a barricade of parked cars
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RECKLESS motorists are blockading prams, bikes and wheelchair users inside their homes, according to a furious Residents’ Association.

Drivers pushing for a free parking space are shunting their cars up against a row of newly installed bollards at the foot of Pelham Crescent, leaving tiny gaps for residents to squeeze through.

Most days, according to the Residents’ Association secretary Ashley Bolch, there is not enough room for a pram or wheelchair to leave.

“I’ve seen mothers struggling to lift their pushchairs over car bonnets,” said disgruntled Mr Bolch, 60, who lives in the crescent and is an occasional wheelchair user himself. “It’s an absolutely appalling mess.”

The situation seems unlikely to be resolved, and the council have refused to step in.

Mr Bolch is convinced the row of bollards, installed last month, are in the wrong position, arguing they should be moved further down to where the crescent joins Pelham Place, leaving no parking space.

But the entrepreneur who installed the bollards, Dr Monodip Shona, of Kent, insists this is impossible, because he does not own the final 25 feet of the crescent. The bollards, which he installed to stop cars damaging the roof of a property he owns beneath the crescent, mark the edge of his land.

“I’m sorry for the residents situation,” he said. “I’ve seen the parking and its terrible. But I cannot do anything. That’s not my area.”

Now, Dr Shona says he is considering selling off his crescent land because of the problems surrounding its access.

The Observer reported last September how dozens of crescent residents wrote letters of protest after Dr Shona won permission for the bollards under Listed Building Consent, ending a 185-year run of free access and parking.

The borough council does not know who owns the remaining section of land at the foot of the crescent, and says it is powerless to stop drivers cramming into the space.

Meanwhile, a Facebook page for the Friends of Pelham Crescent is currently up to day 19 of what residents are terming the “Pelham Blockade”.

Council spokesman Lucy Downham said: “This is a private road, and issues of access cannot be assessed in the listed building consent application.

“We would advise residents to discuss this matter privately with the landowner.”