Pavement Parking Problems In Plantation Road

Introduction: Plantation Road is a small no-through road situated in Slade Green, Erith, Kent. The problems faced by the residents in Plantation Road appear to be indicative of problems experienced by hundreds of people everyday all over the country. The fact remains that ordinary decent people seem to be unable to go about their business without being hounded, bullied and exploited, by the people that we pay to order our lives to our satisfaction, and yet who repeatedly fail to do so.

What Is The Problem? For many years now the residents of Plantation Road have suffered problems brought about by the poorly thought out and rather unreasonable footway parking ban. Access problems, vehicle damage, anger, frustration and of course, parking fines. All of these problems are a direct result of the fact that the pavements in Plantation Road are particularly wide compared to the width of the road. In fact our pavement widths are 2.66m (8' 8") on one side and 2.77m (9' 1") on the other, whilst the road itself is just 6.1m (20') wide. With an average car being 2m (6' 6") wide (including wing mirrors), it doesn't take a genius to work out that, if people are not allowed to park on the pavement, there are going to be some problems.

First We Were Fine - Then We Were Fined: For years therefore, residents have always parked on the pavement. The kerbstones were a low level bevel edge kerbstone with a height of about two inches, specifically designed to facilitate this because pavement parking in Plantation Road was the sensible thing to do. It had never caused any problems for anyone and everyone was happy. That is until Bexley Council decided to start interfering. One day, out of the blue, Bexley Council decided to start enforcing a footway parking ban and people were getting fined left right and centre. After writing a number of letters to Bexley Council in the mid-nineties, after taking their time and making a killing in the meantime, they eventually agreed to paint some marked bays for residents to park in. However, the absence of marked bays at the top of the road and adjacent to this premise still cause problems and means that people still frequently get ticketed, either unwittingly, or because they are forced to take a chance.

We Need Every Inch Of Parking Space: We have stressed to Bexley Council that we need all available parking space and the only response we have had is that, as far as the Council is concerned, it is up to the individual to park their car off road, if they should choose to have one that is. The Council also say it is not their responsibility to find parking space for people and in fact, people are not actually entitled to park on the road anyway. Well that's a great help! We have even had to put up with significant spill over from the Adult Education Centre opposite, which is run by Bexley Council and which in itself, despite having plenty of available ground, does not have enough parking space allocated for the people that use it.

Council Ignore Our Plight: Even though we have complained significantly to the Council they ignore our plight. Perhaps because they know they are making money and they are laughing all the way to the bank. Well we are not! As far as we are concerned, all the problems we have incurred are the result of their failure to observe both common sense and fair play when it comes to the problems and protests of the people that live here. We should not have to pay for, or be made to put up with, the consequences of their poor evaluation and lack of consideration. We have put a common sense viewpoint forward and a substantial case on the table. Yet we still have a stalemate; and in Plantation Road, as in many other places, the struggle for democracy, local autonomy, independence, and even common sense, goes on.

Perverse Exploitation: Although the Council would probably not admit to fining the residents here systematically and deliberately, that is exactly what has been happening! We have been continually milked over the years, because, although people naturally try and do the commonsense thing, we are still being ticketed by the mean spirited, spiteful traffic wardens, who come round at all times of day and night (one resident was recently ticketed at 9.20pm on a Sunday evening). They are perversely exploiting our dilemma and making our lives a misery primarily to boost their coffers. We are being screwed deliberately and systematically. Bexley Council do not have to enforce the footway parking ban, they have chosen to.

The Struggle Goes On: The fact is that the footway parking ban has caused many problems for many people. Our society wasn't perfectly constructed and if it had been, no one would need to park on the pavement. However, living in the real world, it is essential, in order for people to go about their business effectively and efficiently, that people have suitable parking. Many people do not have no off road parking and with the cost of housing being so high, people are sharing houses and children are staying at home longer. Logistically, people often have to go further to shop, to bank and further to school. Also with the cost of living being so high more couples are both out working. Yes, therefore, there are more cars. We feel that it is about time the people we pay to order our society to our satisfaction, started to do so and stopped taking liberties. You can follow the story and some of the discussion we have had with Bexley Council in the selection of listed correspondence. The correspondence plays out a game of cat and mouse, with the local authority somehow managing to sidestep the issue, dodge all of the bullets and still come out on top with lots of our money! Well I never!

Correspondence to Bexley Council regarding this issue
Pop Survey On Plantation Road and Parking Issues in General

Showing the potential difficulties faced by a fire engine if residents
are prevented from parking on the unusually wide pavements.