'Under siege' - Drivers dodging Blickling Estate parking fees spark anger
- Credit: Danielle Booden
Drivers who avoid the car park when visiting Blickling Estate have been putting lives in danger and unintentionally destroying wildlife, according to locals.
Carla Daniels, chairman of Blickling Parish Council, said she and her neighbours were fed up with parked cars blocking Silvergate Lane - opposite the estate entrance - just so motorists could get around the National Trust's £5 daily parking charge.
Mrs Daniels said: "We have a huge community spirit in the village and we're all very upset by this. I've had people in my kitchen in tears because they were so worried about what could happen.
"We're under siege at the weekends. Some residents have said they avoid going out at weekends because of it."
Mrs Daniels said on some parts of the road cars could only pass parked vehicles very carefully, and it could be impossible to get larger vehicles such as ambulances or fire engines down there.
She said: "My husband had a cardiac arrest two years ago - the only reason he's alive is that an ambulance could get to him with on-board equipment.
"[In 2016] we had three thatched cottages burn down - but now at times we can't get emergency vehicles into our village.
"People who come just to walk their dogs don't want to pay £5 for parking.
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"The National Trust have said (the parking charges) are to encourage membership, which we understand, but some people are very averse to that because they've always walked their dogs there."
A Trust spokesman said there had always been a parking charge for non-members at the main estate car park, and charges for smaller satellite car parks around the estate were introduced in 2016.
The spokesman said: "The car parks and estate all need upkeep and as a charity, the income from parking and membership enables us to do this."
Mrs Daniels said residents also had to put up with abuse from drivers when they were asked politely not to park there.
She said: "It's horrific and it's frightening."
She added that the verges used to be a haven for wildflowers such as bluebells and orchids, but they had disappeared since the parking problem arose.
Talks with the trust
Mrs Daniels said although the council had met with the Trust over the parking issue, no solution had been found.
She had suggested a lower parking rate be offered to dog walkers, but this idea had not been taken up.
The Trust spokesman said recent wet weather had put Blickling's overflow car park out of action, which had resulted in increased demand for its other car parks over Christmas.
The spokesman said parking was free for members.
He said: "The income raised from our car parks and membership enables us to care for Blickling and keep it special for our visitors.
“We have recently been working with members of the parish council to improve signage in the surrounding area and have been speaking with the local police to ensure any safety issues are also addressed.
"For local dog walkers membership has and remains the most cost effective method of visiting."