Driver causes chaos in Earlham

A thoughtless driver caused chaos this week when she partly blocked a Norwich road for two hours.

A thoughtless driver caused chaos this week when she partly blocked a Norwich road for two hours.

A blue Nissan Micra was left on Northfields in Earlham on Monday morning, jutting out into the street.

Cars could squeeze by but a bus became stuck and caused a traffic jam until the fire service were able to 'bump' the car out of the way.

The jam left many residents unable to use their cars or local bus services and could have hampered emergency services getting to incidents quickly.

Residents and the bus driver knocked on nearby doors to find the owner, but it is thought that the driver was a student at the nearby University of East Anglia.

Police were called at 9.45am and got the driver's home address but were unable to reach her.

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The road was eventually reopened just before midday as fire officers lifted and dragged the car towards the side of the road by hand.

Station manager Tim Edwards warned that obstructing an emergency vehicle is a criminal offence.

'We had a problem with a very badly parked car which was causing chaos,' he said.

'When we're going to a house fire or something the last thing we want is to get caught by a badly parked car. We've got to ensure that we can get to people who need us.'

Although some damage is thought to have been caused, he said that clearing a path for emergency services had to be the priority.

Lisa Culling, from Drayton Road, spends most days at her parents' home on Northfields acting as their carer. On Monday she was there for her mother's 70th birthday and saw the scene unfold.

'I arrived at the house and I thought 'that gap looks a bit tight',' she said. 'It was parked three quarters on the road, you could get a car through the gap, but you couldn't get a bus through.'

Because many elderly residents on the street rely on the bus service as a 'lifeline', Miss Culling said that many were trapped in their homes.

'This small car took up so many services and caused so much disruption. How much did that cost? It's ridiculous,' she said.

Norwich City Council recently approved plans to apply parking permit zones in many nearby streets, but Northfields was not included because it did not have 50pc approval from residents. Miss Culling said this was unfair because many are elderly and unlikely to reply to council questionnaires. She fears that once permits are introduced elsewhere the problem will become even worse for those which remain free to use.

'There's nothing we can do to stop them because they're totally entitled to park there,' she said. 'We're all quite hacked off.'

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said that only 16pc of the 236 addresses on the street responded to a letter asking for opinions, and the council requires 50pc to investigate further.

After this it requires 50pc approval to bring in a permit zone.

'The reason for setting a 50 per cent target is to give any results legitimacy and to show that we respond to the wishes of the majority of residents within the area being consulted,' they said.