Orchard Village women feel 'unsafe' walking home due to parking issues
- Credit: Daniel Beal
Female residents in the Orchard Village estate say they are "constantly intimidated" walking home in the dark due to car parking issues.
They say the outside car parking bays, of which one is allocated to each ground floor resident, are constantly full of cars owned by either non-residents or people with access to the underground parking.
Resident Daniel Beal said part of the problem is that those with bays in the underground space, which is for flats on the higher floors, often lose their fobs for the gates.
He noticed when the underground parking gates were vandalised, demand for the outside overflow diminished, temporarily solving the problem.
Resident Samantha Tyne, 32, said: "Myself and other women are constantly intimidated and worried for our safety daily walking back to the estate in the dark.
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"I often get home from work at 10pm, someone is always in my space, around that area there's nowhere to park. If I have to park in Rainham it could be a 10-minute walk at night."
She said there are four other female residents with ground floor flats who can attest to feeling unsafe getting home at night due to the parking issue.
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The landlords, Clarion Housing, said it recognises the problem and in June, as part of a project it already has in the works with the National Parking Enforcement (NPE), new enforcement will be coming in to ensure parking spaces are kept free.
A spokesperson for Clarion said: "Where a bay is owned, the resident will be able to park their car at no risk of a penalty charge notice, however they will need to purchase a permit if they wish to have enforcement managed on their parking space and prevent other vehicles using it.
"This new service has always been planned to launch once the final phase of the estate completed [in June].
"It will be delivered using a network of CCTV cameras which will be monitored by a team from 7am to 10pm each day.
"The system will also record all overnight footage. Until this is in place, we will continue to expect residents to refrain from parking in bays not allocated to them and will take action whenever we identify this has happened.”