Cars ‘smashed up and covered in paint’ as row over airport parking escalates

Cars near Liverpool Airport have been reportedly vandalised and splattered with paint as a row over pavement parking heats up.

Residents on Hale Road and Hale Drive in Speke claim their area is swamped with cars "parking anywhere and everywhere" to dodge airport parking fees. The Liverpool Echo previously reported how cars and "illegal taxis" were pulling up at all hours of the day to drop people off at the airport, while others were said to be leaving their cars for weeks on end while they jet away on holiday.

Many of these cars have been parked illegally across people's driveways, blocking the public footpath and on the central reservation. But the problems are said to have escalated in recent months, as cars parked on roads surrounding the airport have had their windscreens smashed or paint thrown over them.

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Nellie Abbott, who lives in the area, told the Echo that while she shares frustration at the parking situation, residents are unable to have guests or family stay overnight for fear their cars will be vandalised.

Nellie said: "Cars are parking anywhere and everywhere to avoid paying for airport parking. With most households having one or two cars it's hard to park outside your home as it is without having random cars parked there for weeks at a time.

"I understand people are annoyed and angry but vandalising the cars is only causing more of a financial burden to people who actually own cars on the street. Residents can't have guests or family overnight for fear their cars will be damaged as people think they are being parked up to go on holiday."

Nellie revealed that her insurance has increased by £300 since she moved from a different part of Speke last year, despite her car now being parked on a private drive with locked gates.

"It was when I noticed all the cars being damaged that I realised the reason for the price rising. I've seen cars with windows smashed, shopping trolleys on the roof, spray painted, hay, and mud and paint all over them." Nellie said. A video taken on Western Avenue near to the junction with Hale Road this week shows the extent of the parking problem, with dozens of cars parked across the pavement. In the video, a man can be heard saying: "How are you supposed to cross over the road? How can a kid cross the road?"

A woman took to Facebook to question who was responsible for damaging cars on Hale Road and Hale Drive, causing car insurance to skyrocket. One person responded: "It's costing people of Speke more because of the damage cars claim and it puts Speke as a high risk area, so all car insurance will be high for anyone living there."

Another added: "That's what people don't realise, car insurance will go up for everyone. It cost me £800 pounds last year for a Fiesta."

Liverpool Airport charges £5 for ten minutes of parking directly opposite the terminal, which increases to £10 for 20 minutes and £25 for an hour.

However, Liverpool Airport stated that there is a free drop-off point closer to the terminal than where cars are currently parking on Hale Road and other surrounding roads. The drop-off point is free for up to 40 minutes, increasing to £8 for an hour.

Liverpool John Lennon Airport said their parking charges "are in line with fees charged at other airports and in many cases they are lower".

The airport has voiced its agreement "with many local residents that a resident's only parking permit scheme is the best solution" to the area's parking woes.

Last August, Liverpool City council told the Echo it planned to conduct a site visit with Merseyside Police.

A council spokesperson stated: "There are extensive sections of road in the area where waiting restrictions prohibit parking which the council regularly enforces, similarly enforcement regularly takes place around taxis parking.

"However, if vehicles are parked, not causing an obstruction or contravening any waiting restrictions and are taxed, MOT'd and insured this would not be classed as an offence but we will engage with the airport on the issues that have been raised."

An airport spokesperson expressed disappointment, saying: "We are naturally disappointed to see drivers parking on public roads adjacent to the airport who are clearly doing this so as not to incur any parking charges and this is despite there being a free drop-off/pick up car park at the airport which is closer to the terminal than where the majority of these vehicles appear to be parking on adjacent roads, forcing their passengers to walk further.

"The parking charges at the airport are in line with fees charged at other airports and in many cases they are lower. We will continue to encourage all drivers to make use of the choice of on site car parks whether they are picking up, dropping off or going away for a few days."

The spokesperson also mentioned previous discussions with Liverpool City Council and Merseyside Police regarding this issue.

They said: "We are also aware that enforcement has taken place with fines issued for vehicles parked illegally in the area. We agree with many local residents that a resident's only parking permit scheme is the best solution, similar to successful schemes introduced elsewhere across the city that had previously suffered from similar parking problems such as near Anfield and Goodison Park on match days."

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