MOTORISTS are being urged to stop parking on pavements – the principal cause of Cambridgeshire County Council s having had to pay compensation claims totalling nearly £3million in the past five years. The Liberal Democrats have revealed that the county co

MOTORISTS are being urged to stop parking on pavements - the principal cause of Cambridgeshire County Council's having had to pay compensation claims totalling nearly £3million in the past five years.

The Liberal Democrats have revealed that the county council paid out £2.9million in compensation for pavement accidents - one of the highest figures for any highway authority in England and the highest for a shire authority.

Councillor Mac McGuire, CCC's cabinet member for highways and access, said one of the main causes of damage to roadside footpaths was caused by motorists parking cars, vans and lorries on surfaces that were not designed to take their weight.

"I feel very strongly about people who park on pavements," he told The Hunts Post. "As well as damaging the pavements, they cause danger to pedestrians, especially those with impaired mobility or pushing prams. I appeal to people to stop doing it. It really is unnecessary and does not benefit other motorists, as the people who do it presumably intend."

While roads are engineered to accept pounding from axles up to 10 tonnes for years before they need reconstruction, pavements are designed only for pedestrian traffic. Anything heavier causes progressive damage, often made worse by bad weather, and can lead to trips, falls and compensation claims.

Cllr McGuire added: "In Cambridgeshire we have over 2,500 miles of footpath which are regularly inspected and we respond quickly to calls from the public when they spot problems. This year we have committed to spend over £3.2million on improving our footpaths.

"Obviously on occasions circumstances can be beyond our control when some defects can appear in a matter of days due to adverse weather conditions. However, we know we can do better, as the safety of our residents is paramount, hence our significant investment in improving footpaths this year.