Fire crews have been hindered from saving lives by inconsiderate parking for nearly a quarter of a century – but still the problem persists.

Photos taken by The Argus over the past 25 years reveal that despite repeated calls for congested roads to be cleared in central Brighton, little action has been taken.

East Sussex Fire and Rescue has again warned that badly parked cars could cost lives.

Earlier this month, The Argus reported that firefighters lost vital minutes in reaching blaze victim Julie Marriott, who slipped into unconsciousness after a tea light started a fire. Parked cars blocked the route to her flat in Park Crescent Terrace, Brighton.

In 2011, a similar incident occurred in Toronto Terrace, Hanover, Brighton, and a family’s Christmas presents were destroyed.

But councillors were complaining about the situation along the same street 23 years ago.

In March 1989 a fire broke out in Toronto Terrace and two people escaped with seconds to spare. A cat died in the fire.

We reported at the time: “Firemen lost valuable time because they were prevented getting to the blaze by cars parked on both sides of the road.”

Photographs taken then showed vehicles blocking Toronto Terrace. Twenty-three years on, the style of the vehicles has changed but little else.

Damaged vehicles

This month, we revealed how vehicles along Park Crescent were damaged by fire engines as they had been more than two decades ago.

Brighton and Hove City Council said a parking scheme would improve access but that residents voted against the idea in 2009.

A spokesman said: “The council does not impose parking schemes where they are not wanted by the majority of local residents and businesses.

“The Park Crescent area was consulted about the possibility of a parking scheme in 2009 along with other areas around London Road Station and off Lewes Road.

“Residents in the Hanover and Elm Grove area – including roads north of Elm Grove up to and including Hartington Road – were consulted about the possibility of a parking scheme in 2010 and 75% of respondents voted against it.”

An East Sussex Fire and Rescue spokeswoman urged drivers to consider “your life, the lives of your family and your neighbours” when parking.

She said: “It’s not uncommon for crews attending incidents to be slowed down or completely blocked out by cars parked either side of residential roads. Whilst firefighters recognise the difficulties residents have in finding suitable on-street parking in many areas of the city this is an issue that has the potential to cost lives.

“Drivers may be unaware that they are committing an offence by parking in a way that restricts access for fire appliances, even when they appear to be legally parked.”

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