Plantation Rd Pavement Parking Problem Correspondence to Bexley Council

A letter to Bexley Council complaining about a penalty notice, the unsavoury way in which it was issued
and the fact that pavement parking is totally necessary in this road.

Letter 1

Re: Penalty Notice and Footway Parking in Plantation Road

28/04/97

Dear Sir,

I am very disturbed that we have received a penalty notice for a footway parking incident which we do not feel we should be liable for. I am also very disturbed by the circumstances surrounding the issuing of this notice which left us feeling like it was an act of malice.

As I have now explained several times over the phone, the residents in Plantation Road have been parking on the footway one side of the road at least since we bought this property in 1982. The reason for this is because the footways are too wide in comparison to the width of the road and parking on the footway has been the only way to aid access to parking spaces and properties. The residents were quite happy with this commonsense arrangement until a Traffic Warden issued us with a penalty notice.

This Traffic Warden did not even work in this area and said she just happened to be driving past as she noticed our vehicle parked with two wheels on the pavement. She was not sympathetic to any of the problems residents in this road face and even though these problems were clearly explained to her, by myself and my wife (who incidentally saw the Traffic Warden arrive and went straight outside to try and reason with her), the Traffic Warden insisted on issuing a penalty notice. As we were immediately on the spot I would have thought it would have been more appropriate to have given a verbal warning, by pointing out that it was an offence to park in this manner, rather than steaming ahead with a parking ticket. Perhaps then we would have felt like we had been considered fairly and not like we'd been abused by somebody in uniform!

For six years, in between 1990 and 1996, I had a transit van which I would not have been able to park on my driveway if vehicles had not been parked partially on the pavement. There is not enough turning room in between the cars when parked solely on the road. Even though I now have a small van it is still very difficult negotiating parked vehicles usually with just inches to spare. Since vehicles have been forced to park strictly on the road, several vehicles have been damaged due to the tightness of the parking situation, the residents are unhappy about this, and as I have explained several times over the phone to various people, with vehicles parked strictly on the road, it is doubtful that a fire engine could access the houses at the bottom of the road, certainly the dustcart cannot get down the road. Even if a fire engine could get between the parked cars, the Fire Officers would not have room to access the compartments at the side of the pump. A potentially hazardous and even lethal situation would you not agree?

Also for two days in succession this week my wife was disturbed first thing in the morning by the workmen laying the cable TV ducting in Plantation Road, who had to knock at the door to ask my wife to move the car because with it parked solely on the road they couldn't get their lorry between the vehicles. As well as the fact that my wife has better things to do at that time of the morning (having two children to get ready), it does underline the difficulties we are facing in this road. As we have now been told footway parking is illegal unless we are on a list of excused roads, and not being able to park on the footway causes unacceptable problems with access to the road, I am sending a copy of this letter to Mr Kiley at Sidcup Place, as advised. We are not saying we want the pavement restructured but we would like Plantation Road excused, thereby allowing residents to park partially on the footway where and when necessary without the threat of receiving such penalty notices hanging over our heads. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


Another penalty notice appeal and notification of intent to write to the Chief Engineer's office over the problems incurred by the residents in this road.

Letter 2

Re: Penalty Notice and Footway Parking in Plantation Road

24/07/01

Re: BL 32059183 (Registration Number - 28 TKT)

Dear Sir or Madam,

In further to my phone call last week (when I spoke to Jane Hudson), I am writing to appeal against the above penalty notice and request that you put it on hold until I have had a chance to take up the issue of Plantation Road again with the footway parking review personnel. As Plantation Road is supposed to be exempt, vehicles parked in Plantation Road should not be penalised for footway parking. Footway parking is necessary in Plantation Road from an access point of view, and I have reiterated the case in a letter which I am forwarding to the Chief Engineer's Office. I will keep you informed as to developments. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


A letter to the Chief Engineer complaining about residents incurring penalty notices for parking in, what we consider, the most sensible fashion.

Letter 3

REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL REVIEW OF FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

26/07/01

Dear Mr Morley,

Some four years ago we requested a review of the footway parking situation in Plantation Road due to access problems incurred with vehicles parked solely on the road. The case was overseen by Mr Gordon Kiley and was eventually sanctioned at a committee hearing. However, when the engineers painted the parking bays, they omitted to paint bays at the top of the road. Because of this, it appears that if we do park on the footway at the top of the road we are still breaking the law and even though Plantation Road is supposed to be exempt, I and several other residents have recently incurred penalty notices for what we feel is parking in the most appropriate and sensible fashion for the given circumstances, i.e. with two wheels on the footway, as for the rest of the road. We are not causing any obstruction and there appears to be no reason as to why residents should not be parking on the footway at the mouth of the road, ie there are no manhole covers in the spaces in question. In fact, footway parking at the mouth of the road is the safest and most sensible option for several reasons and we do not know, therefore, why bays have not been marked in the first place, if that means we are still going to be considered liable.

Parking solely on the road blocks access to the road and makes parking more difficult, this is why residents have always felt the need to park on the footway and why we applied for exemption in the first place. However, we did not ask for exemption for part of the road but for all of the road if we have no exemption for the last 20ft or so, much of the object is defeated, because if vehicles are not allowed to park on the footway at the mouth of the road, there is then a bottleneck and obviously then access to the road is still a problem. Not only that but it is also safer from a vision aspect for drivers turning in or out of Plantation Road if vehicles at the top of the road are footway parked because you can then see more clearly around the corner. Bearing in mind that Plantation Road has a population of small children that play up and down the road, crossing from side to side sometimes in between the parked cars (even though we tell them not to), and Slade Green Road is currently a commercial route, if residents and others alike are still going to be penalised for parking in the safest and most appropriate fashion due to the absence of a white line, we would request that the engineers correct the problem by painting the extra lines necessary as soon as possible, thereby, completing the job as we originally requested and enabling us to park safely and within the law. There is room to park another two vehicles either side of the road in the space in question and that, in Plantation Road, is significant.

I would also like to appeal against the penalty notice I received, and on behalf of anyone else who has been penalised, on the grounds that Plantation Road is supposed to be exempt and therefore, we should not be liable for footway parking. I would also like to point out that people should not be penalised for doing what can be seen to be the sensible thing. There is currently not enough parking for this area as it is, because St Augustine's Church and the Howbury Centre across the road both have inadequate parking and we get the spill-over in Slade Green Road and Plantation Road. Increasing the number of parking spaces at the Howbury Centre is something else that perhaps the council may also be able to look into, perhaps by opening up some parking at the rear of the building. I will be happy to discuss and explain to the engineers exactly what our requirements are and happy to liaise with them at some time, hopefully soon. Please also find a copy of the original letter enclosed as this details the original case. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


A letter from the Assistant Engineer, Linda Jackson, to say that the Council had done all it was prepared to do
and it was not the Council's responsibility to provide parking anyway.

Letter 3 Reply

21 August 2001

Plantation Road, Slade Green - Request For More Footway Parking Bays

Dear Mr Tarrant

Thank you for your letter dated 26 July 2001, received by the Council on 13 August 2001, requesting extra footway parking bays in Plantation Road.

Having received your letter I visited Plantation Road to look at the concerns you have raised. I understand there is a great demand for parking in Plantation Road, however, whilst any difficulties in parking is of course regrettable, finding safe and suitable locations to park does remain the responsibility of vehicle owners, not the Council. Whilst I was in Plantation Road I noticed that the vehicles on the east side were parked in the road and were not using the footway parking bays.

I appreciate the concerns you have raised. However, when the Council' s former Traffic and Engineering Services Panel approved the bays in December 1997 the Council installed as many bays on the pavement that met its criteria. The bays stop between ten and twelve metres from the junction with Slade Green Road. This complies with the Highway Code, which recommends that vehicles do not park within ten metres of a junction. The Council generally considers it unsafe to install bays, which encourage motorists to park, nearer to a junction. If motorists choose to park near the junction and they cause an obstruction the Council may have to consider the introduction of waiting restrictions at the junction of Plantation Road and Slade Green Road.

If you wish to appeal against the Penalty Charge Notice (parking ticket) you have recently received you need to contact the Council' s Parking Team on 020 8303 7777 extension 2945 and quote the ' BL' number on the ticket.

I am sorry that I am not able to be more helpful on this occasion. I hope you find the explanation above, as to why the bays were not installed right up to the junction with Slade Green Road, helpful.

Yours sincerely

Linda Jackson
Assistant Engineer


Pointing out that the local authority's attitude was forcing residents away from parking
in the safest and most sensible fashion and that we would like to see this changed.

Letter 4

RE: ADDITIONAL FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

23/09/01

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your reply to our letter dated 21/08/01 regarding the footway parking in Plantation Road. It appears from your letter that you feel there is nothing you can do to aid our situation. This is somewhat unacceptable to us for several reasons, some of which were pointed out in our previous letter. We do not find satisfaction in the viewpoint that it is our problem to find parking space for our vehicles and that there is nothing you can do to help. In this case, at least, we have pointed out what can be done to help and we would like to see it done. There are safety issues at stake here as well as practical problems to solve and, although they have been made apparent in previous correspondence, for some reason they are being ignored. Why is that? To us, the issues we have raised appear to be obvious and common sense. If you are saying that the law is preventing the application of common sense then the law needs to be changed. However, from your letter it appears that you are quoting a recommendation from the highway code and not therefore a law or something that is enshrined in stone. As vehicles do park at the end of the road anyway, it would obviously be safer and more practical if they were parked on the footway. We can therefore see no reason as to why you cannot see your way to granting our request and reiterate that practical common sense and safety are the important factors. We must also point out that footway parking in Slade Green Road on the west side of Plantation Road is allowed to within the width of the footway of Plantation Road, exactly what we are requesting for Plantation Road and contrary to the highway code recommendation that you have quoted as an 'excuse' for not granting our request. This recommendation, which is a safety guideline, in this case, appears to be guiding us away from the safest and most sensible option. In fact, it is the vehicles parked on the corner of Slade Green Road and not Plantation Road that are more likely to cause an obstruction of vision and the implementation of our request would actually improve matters in this area and not make it worse.

We would also like to add that, in our belief, the local authority is paid by us to manage and provide for the needs of society to the best of its ability, of which viable parking is one. If the local authority does not currently take this view we feel that it is about time that it did. People pay large amounts of money in council, road and fuel tax, they deserve better than for the local authority to wash its hands of what is an important issue just when it suits. After all, it is the local authority that paint the yellow lines everywhere. Also, Bexley Council run the Howbury Centre opposite and currently do not even provide enough parking for that, it is completely unjust therefore that, when we get the spill-over from this operation compounding our problem, we are being refused a simple request which would help improve things overnight. The suggestion that the council could apply parking restrictions at the top of the road to aid access as an alternative to allowing footway parking is completely unhelpful as it very obviously does not help solve the problem and in fact would obviously make matters worse. Why is it, when having been offered a genuine solution, the council would see fit to respond with such an irrational and unhelpful alternative suggestion? We are arguing in favour of safety and practical common sense. What is the council arguing in favour of? If you are not prepared to work with us in accepting this simple solution, people will continue to get penalty notices unjustifiably because they still feel the need to park on the footway and therefore, in order to be fair, the only alternative is to ask that the footways be remodelled and reduced in width to a somewhat more realistic and practical size in relation to the road width so that people can park on the road without incurring such problems. We don't mind which option but we would like one or the other implemented as soon as possible. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


The Council reitterates that it cannot do anymore to help the situation. It has done all it can,
has no plans to alter the pavement layout, and ideally people should park off road anyway.

Letter 4 Reply

26 October 2001

Dear Mr Tarrant

PLANTATION ROAD - REQUEST FOR ADDITIONAL PAVEMENT PARKING BAYS

I refer to your letter dated 23 September and acknowledge on 4 October 2001 requesting additional pavement parking bays be installed in Plantation Road.

I do understand your views regarding parking difficulties in Plantation Road. However, the Council's parking policies have been based on a key principle for many years; the Council has no duty to provide parking for residents and it is for car owners to take responsibility for parking safely and legally, preferably off the highway.

If the Council was to install bays close to the junction it is stating that this is a safe place to park, in many circumstances it may not be. As I explained in my last letter, the Highway Code recommends that vehicles do not park within ten metres of a junction and if motorists chose to ignore this the Metropolitan Police may issue parking tickets. Because of street furniture and utility covers in the pavement, there would only be enough room to install one bay on the east side of Plantation Road and extend the bay on the west side to accommodate one more vehicle. I note your comments about a lack of parking at the Council's Howbury Centre. There is additional parking at the rear of the building, however, some users of the Centre may choose not to use it and again the Council has limited powers to make them.

I appreciate that you feel it is the Council's responsibility to provide for the needs of society, however, society is not just made up of motorists wishing to park their cars. The Council has to consider other road users including pedestrians and wheelchair users.

The Council has provided as many pavement parking bays in Plantation Road that comply with its criteria and are in a safe position. We will not be installing any more bays in Plantation Road and there are no plans to alter the road/pavement layout to provide more parking.

I must, therefore, confirm that no further pavement parking bays will be provided in Plantation Road. I trust this explains the Council's position on pavement parking.

Yours sincerely

LINDA JACKSON
Assistant Engineer


Pointing out that we are still getting penalty notices whereas other local authorities, such as Dartford,
Gravesham and Bromley, are not penalising people for pavement parking where the need arises.

Letter 5

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

08/04/02

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your reply to our letter dated 23/09/01 regarding our parking problems in Plantation Road. However, due to the situation remaining unchanged, people are still getting penalty notices for doing the sensible thing and we feel that this is completely unacceptable. The situation as it stands is contrary to common sense and safety and needs to be resolved to our satisfaction. We understand that, as you say, the council may have met its criteria but it has not met ours. If you do not feel that you can provide additional bays we would be happy to accept blanket exemption for Plantation Road. This would prove to be the simplest and most immediate option and would absolve the council from any complications regarding restrictions. We do not, in the mean time, feel that we can let this matter rest with the situation as it is. Could you, therefore, please inform us as to who is responsible for the introduction of the footway parking ban and who we would have to write to in order to complain about it? Because, at the moment this policy appears to be causing more problems than it has solved. In fact it has wasted much of people's time, cost people money, and wasted council resources that presumably could have been better utilised elsewhere. There are other ways of dealing with the infringement of access to pedestrians i.e. prams and wheelchairs, and all this policy has done is to shift the problem onto the road, thereby now causing infringement of access for the motorist, as well as all the other related problems. Prams and wheelchairs are a minority and although we recognise that they have to be considered, doing it this way is unfairly penalising the majority. That is not democratic. In our road, for example, there is plenty of room for prams and wheelchairs even with cars parked on the footway. Therefore, a footway parking ban is totally inappropriate and Bexley Council, as well as wasting our time and money in undeserved penalty notices and vehicle damage, has presumably charged us out of our council tax for the privilege of having white lines painted on the pavement. Well thanks very much, but we like things the way they were before. We therefore wish to complain about the fact that Bexley Council feels that it is entitled to behave in this manner towards its constituents and would ask that it stops wasting our time and money by trying to enforce what is an unwelcome, poorly thought out, profoundly irritating, 'sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut' scheme. If you are worried about pedestrian access then you could state a minimum access width of three feet and instead of spending money on painting parking bays all over the place, give the parking attendants a tape measure each. Then everyone can be accommodated. If not a tape measure, a piece of string three feet in length would serve equally well. In fact, we could all have one.

We would also like to complain about the fact that, at the moment, Bexley Council appear to be the only local authority in this area that are enforcing this ban. Dartford, Gravesham and Bromley Councils are not. Why is it that Bexley Council see fit to enforce this impractical and pain in the backside policy when there is a choice? Surely by now Bexley Council must be aware that it is causing its constituents more problems than it is solving? Does it not care about this? Maybe other local authorities realise that this scheme is unworkable and impractical and if they did try and enforce it, their constituents would incur all the very same problems that we have had to put up with. To put it another way, when the roads and footways were first built, nobody envisaged the world as it is now. Otherwise things may have been different. But as they are not, compromise has got to be the name of the game. This means a policy that meets in the middle and is perhaps neither one thing or the other. In other words not extreme and preferably accommodating everyone, not just the chosen few. In our opinion, a footway parking ban per se is extreme and not appropriate to the way the roads and footways were originally constructed. We therefore feel that it should be time to think again.

People may even begin to think that Bexley Council is using this impractical footway parking ban as a crafty means of boosting its coffers, because after all, thirty pounds for a parking ticket that takes two minutes to write out is a bit steep. It doesn't take a genius to work out that someone somewhere is making a lot of money at the expense of the innocent public trying to go about their business. Perhaps somebody amongst the 'powers that be' had that very same notion when they decided to enforce the ban, because this ban does, in many instances, go against the grain of common sense, and may we also add, it goes against the will of the people too. This is supposed to be a democracy and therefore the will of the people should be paramount. We are paying the council's wages and one would think that we should be entitled to expect a quality of service that meets our satisfaction. Council and government employees are supposed to be public servants, there to serve the public, and not to lay down laws that are contrary to common sense and contrary to the will of the people that pay their wages. It is also not good enough for you to say that you don't want the responsibility because you are the people causing the problems. You can't be involved one minute and then wash your hands of responsibility the next. We are dealing here with problems intrinsic to the very nature of our road and housing infrastructure, which we know is imperfect. These problems have to be addressed positively with that in mind. We understand what you are saying about not wishing to encourage people to park unsafely, but, at the moment, that is exactly what you are doing by not allowing us to park on the footway and so forcing us to park on the road. We reiterate that this impedes vision, impedes access and makes vehicles more susceptible to damage.

We also feel that, as it is not a perfect world and individual situations can vary quite a lot, it is not always practical to generalise when making decisions. The rule book has never been perfect or comprehensive enough to cover all differing situations and therefore is perhaps best used as a guide and not as a rule. Rules can often be seen to be inappropriate, out of date, or plain simply wrong, and there is certainly no rule that covers all circumstances or eventualities. Judging Plantation Road, for example, on an individual basis, it is fair to say that one of the prime issues is the fact that vehicles do park at the end of the road and in this instance, therefore, it would be better for the very reasons, both we, and you in fact, have quoted, if the vehicles were parked on the footway. There is no real debate about this. Everybody knows, in this instance, it is better, safer, and more practical if they do park on the footway. So, application of the rule book in this instance is moving us down a road that is less safe and less practical and not serving the best interests of the people, which in theory the rule book was originally designed to do. In fact, we are being punished for being sensible and that cannot be right. Granting our request would be a positive step in the direction of safety and common sense, as well as giving the residents what they would like and should deserve. There is nothing wrong with that.

We therefore reiterate that, with regard to Plantation Road, there are three options, any one of which we would be happy to except.

1. Additional parking bays, as already requested
2. Remodelling of the footways to a more realistic and practical size
3. Blanket exemption for Plantation Road

We would prefer the third option, being the simplest and most immediate.

We look forward to your reply with any further points you may have for us to consider and the information we have requested. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


Bexley Council say they are giving enforcement a much higher priority than the police used to and that
no one has the automatic right to park on the road, even outside their own property.

Letter 5 Reply

17 April 2002

Dear MrTarrant

Plantation Road, Slade Green - Request For Additional Pavement Parking Bays

Thank you for your letter dated 8 April following our correspondence about your request for additional pavement parking bays to be installed in Plantation Road at its junction with Slade Green Road.

The ban on parking vehicles on footways/pavements and verges, is a consequence of Section 15 of the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974 which came into effect in 1985. It applies to all roads at all times of the day throughout the week. The Police were responsible for the enforcement of the ban until July 1994, but did not attach a high priority to this task and pavement parking became commonplace. Enforcement responsibilities were transferred from the Police to the Council from 4 September 1994, and the Council gave enforcement a much higher priority. I can assure you that the pavement parking ban is enforced in the London Borough of Bromley, as it is in all London Boroughs.

The Council accepts that many people enjoy the convenience of owning a car. But no one has the automatic right to park on the road and the Council has no duty to provide parking for residents. Indeed the Council wishes residents to park their cars off the road wherever possible. The Council encourages people, thinking about buying a new or an extra vehicle, to make sure they have a suitable place to park. While the Council does try to help, as far as possible, no one has the automatic right to park on the road, let alone outside their own property.

As I have explained in my previous letters if the Council was to install bays close to the junction with Slade Green Road it is stating that this is a safe place to park, in many circumstances it may not be. If motorists choose to park near the junction and they cause an obstruction the Council may have to consider the introduction of waiting restrictions.

I understand your views about parking on the pavement; however, I do believe I have explained in my letters why the Council cannot install any additional pavement parking bays in Plantation Road.

Yours sincerely

Linda Jackson
Assistant Engineer


Requesting blanket exemption for Plantation Road, thereby solving all the problems and
absolving the Council from any issues regarding providing additional marked bays.

Letter 6

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

14/05/02

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your reply dated 17/04/02, to our letter regarding parking problems in Plantation Road.

First of all we must point out that Bromley Council definitely do not enforce a footway-parking ban across the board. They may operate a footway-parking ban in some instances, or in some areas, but certainly not in all. This I know for a fact because both my girlfriend and my ex-wife live under Bromley Council and in their roads, and in fact all over that locality, vehicles do park on the footway. Vehicle owners do this because it is the obvious and sensible thing to do and if they didn't, the vehicles would be likely to cause an obstruction and would also be prone to damage. They do not cause an obstruction, there are no marked bays in the area, no one gets a parking penalty notice and everybody is happy. How simple life can be. So, in the very least Bromley Council are operating a policy of blanket exemption, or non-enforcement, for certain roads, which is what we would like for Plantation Road. We understand your dilemma with regard to providing additional bays, however, as you feel that this is not possible, is their any reason why Plantation Road cannot have blanket exemption? A situation we would find preferable and, as we have said, would absolve the council from any complications regarding additional bays.

Some of the other points you have put forward and the current stance of the local authority in this instance also raises some interesting questions in itself, which you may be able to shed some light on....

1). Who says we do not have the automatic right to park on the road?

2). Whose roads are they?

3). Who pays for the roads and their upkeep?

We would also like to add that we are very dismayed by the apparent lack of grip on reality, as well as the obvious lack of empathy with the populous, that local authorities currently seem to exhibit. It isn't so much a matter of enjoying the convenience of having a car, it is the simple fact that people cannot get by in this day and age without one. With the demands of modern life people need personal transport to conduct their business. A world where everybody is expected to use public transport can only ever exist in the dreams of the politicians and local authorities, who seem to think that using public transport is some kind of magic solution and that, if they make life difficult enough for the motorist, he or she will give up their car and get on the bus. However, there are many reasons as to why this is not possible, practical, or desirable, and so the sooner we dispel that myth and start living in the real world, and catering for it, the better. If the politicians and the local authorities had a mind to, they could make life a lot better for all concerned by accepting the fact that, in today's world (which the politicians and local authorities have created), people cannot get by, or manage effectively enough, without personal transport. And why should they have to? Would you give up your car? The people that are responsible for this situation may be lucky enough to have off road parking, they are in a well paid job, paid for by the people they are currently letting down, who perhaps aren't so lucky as the politicians and civil servants that they are forced to fund. There is nothing wrong in people having, using and parking, personal transport. Just the opposite! It is the best and most efficient way for people to operate.

It is the current management, or should we say mismanagement of society that is the problem and that is down to the government and the local authorities. Many of the problems associated with the motorcar are a direct result of actions and attitudes, taken and adopted, by the governments and local authorities and if such were not the case, personal transport in the form of the motorcar would be less of a problem than it currently appears to be. The situation can be dramatically improved by improving the efficiency of the roads and junctions, eradicating retrogressive and inefficient traffic schemes. Reducing the need to travel, by providing facilities for people where they need it, and limiting population density in any given area, making sure that any given area has the infrastructure and facilities to cater for the number of people it is expected to accommodate. Instead, what have the local authorities done? Screwed up local traffic schemes and compounded congestion problems. Shut down local facilities such as the schools and hospitals. Built another massive shopping centre when we already had Lakeside and built more housing in the area without improving the supporting infrastructure and the local facilities. It doesn't take a genius to work out that this sort of thing is going to make life a whole lot more difficult for people and make it impossible to get by without a car, as well as compound travelling and congestion problems. When my ex-wife had our daughter, I had to drive her to Gravesend in rush hour traffic. Taking her in by public transport would not have been an option and she only just made it as it was. Why am I going on a half hour car journey with a woman that's about to give birth, when previously it would have been ten minutes to West Hill? This year, fifty to sixty local children cannot get school places because, on top of a baby boom coming through the system and increasing housing density in the area, the local authority has closed not one, but two secondary schools. The result, Erith and Bexleyheath schools are stuffed full and running way over capacity and the unfortunate children that cannot get a local place have been offered schools at Sidcup and Falconwood. That could mean another fifty to sixty cars unnecessarily on the road in the morning and evening. All of these factors do not put the local authorities in good light because it is very apparent that they are the cause of a lot of the problems and as for the phrase 'convenience of having a car', it seems somewhat out of place nowadays and probably would be better suited to a time when most people were still getting around on a horse and cart.

If things are ever going to be improved we must change the way the local authorities think and operate and that's what we are aiming to try and do by highlighting some of these problems. However, if we come up against dogmatism, refusal to cooperate and give people what they want, as well as reluctance to acknowledge common sense, there may be no hope for any of us. So, first of all, we may have to have national awareness campaign to make those in charge aware that first and foremost, this country belongs to the people that populate it. The authorities are only supposed to be there to do what we want them to do and not to do what we don't want them to do. Democracy involves listening to the people's voice and giving the people what they want, not forcing them to have what they don't want. Once we can establish these principles we may have some chance of improving things. Because, let's face it, we do not like paying people to make life difficult for us. Quite the opposite! In the mean time, for the sake of our continuing campaign for independence and common sense in our road where we live, as well as on behalf of all other people inconvenienced and fed up with the situation, can you please provide an address for the parties directly responsible for the administration of this policy in both Bexley Borough and London as a whole so that we can write to them? That is, whoever is responsible for the decision to enforce this ban on behalf of Bexley Council, and the appropriate body that does the job that the G.L.C. used to do and would therefore be responsible for the abolishment of such a ban if we could make them aware that it is unwarranted and unwanted by the people that count. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


Bexley Council states that each local authority decides its own policy, and although the roads are funded by the public,
and the public pay their road tax, the public still have no automatic right to park on them.

Letter 6 Reply

31 May 2002

Dear Mr Tarrant

Plantation Road, Slade Green - Request For Additional Pavement Parking Bays

Thank you for your letter dated 14 May following our correspondence about your request for additional pavement parking bays to be installed in Plantation Road at its junction with Slade Green Road.

I believe I have answered most of the points raised in your letter in our previous correspondence. However, I have attached a copy of a leaflet the Council has produced explaining its pavement parking policy, which may answer other queries you may have.

Turning to the three questions you have asked in your letter:

  1. It is legislation that goes back many years that states the principle purpose of a highway is only for traffic to pass and repass. Nowhere in statute is any right to park on a highway automatically conferred on motorists.
  2. In the case of most roads the use of the land over which roads pass is vested in the authority for highway purposes. The highway authority, which in some cases is the local authority or may be another body, who will have ownership of the land and be responsible for maintenance of the roads.
  3. Construction and upkeep of the majority of highways is publicly funded, either from Central Government funds, or in the case of maintenance, from local Government funds.

As far as pavement parking policy is concerned, each local authority in London is responsible for its own policy as long as it does not contravene the Greater London Council (General Powers) Act 1974. The pavement parking policy in Bexley was decided by the former Public Works Committee in October 1993 and was reaffirmed by the former Traffic and Transport Sub-Committee in May 2000. It is this Department that is responsible for the implication of these policies.

I note your views about parking on the pavement in Plantation Road; however, I do believe I have explained in my letters why the Council cannot install any additional pavement parking bays in your road, especially so close to a junction.

Yours sincerely

Linda Jackson
Assistant Engineer


Pointing out that no one has yet explained why we cannot have a simple blanket exemption,
that the residents still feel we are being treated unfairly and that we still have a superior case.

Letter 7

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

08/08/02

Dear Linda,

Thank you for your letter dated 31/05/02 in reply to our most recent letter regarding footway parking. Thank you also for the leaflet enclosed, which does throw some light on the reasoning behind the ban. However, having studied the points noted in the leaflet, it seems apparent that none of them apply to Plantation Road, or roads similar to Plantation Road, except for possibly the worry of cracked paving slabs.

I thank you for addressing the many issues we have raised, although, I do note that you have not as yet explained the problem with allowing us blanket exemption for Plantation Road, instead of the unsightly white lines that have been painted on our pavements. As we have expressed in our prior correspondence, this would, in fact, be preferable to us and, as it would absolve the local authority of any complications regarding people parking near the junction, we would have thought that this would then satisfy everyone. Plantation Road, and roads similar in nature, do not meet the criteria listed as problematic in the pavement parking leaflet and therefore, we feel, should not be included with such. The types of road listed and pictured in the enclosed leaflet have very narrow pavements to begin with. This adds weight to the validity of the point we made about a blanket ban being like using a 'sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut' and, as the footway parking ban has caused so many problems, weight to the validity of the argument in favour of alternative criteria. Having weighed up the evidence and the points for and against footway parking, we can see no reason as to why roads such as Plantation Road cannot be given blanket exemption and feel that this should be the case for all such roads whose pavements are disproportionately wide with respect to the width of the carriageway. The problem of cracked paving slabs is easily solved by alternatively surfacing pavements with tarmac or concrete, as many already are.

We are still of the belief that our argument is substantially superior to the one being offered by the local authority, which does not stand up to scrutiny or comparison. We are arguing in favour of common sense, fairness, safety and practicality, and feel that it can, and is, being shown that, in this instance, the local authority are ignoring all of these factors as well as the feelings of the people that live in and around this road and that own the houses on either side. We do not find this acceptable and, on behalf of all people in similar circumstances, we would like to continue to highlight this problem until common sense prevails. A healthy society involves sensible and careful distribution and allocation of available resource and we feel that this principle is just as important when applied to roads and footways as it is with anything else. We understand that the local authority has no plans to modify the width of pavements accordingly and yet many roads, such as Plantation Road, suffer from disproportionate and impractical footway modelling. Many people are unhappy about this current state of affairs and we would like to pursue the matter further. Would you, therefore, please explain the problem with giving us blanket exemption for Plantation Road and would you also please provide the names and postal addresses of the head persons responsible for the implementation of the footway parking ban, both within Bexley Council, and London as a whole, so that we can write to them and express our discontent, and further our campaign for a change in the law and the right to do what we feel is appropriate and best in our own roads? Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


A letter from a Senior Engineer, stating that it is an offence to park on the pavement unless in a marked bay
and that it would require a further act of parliament to change things.

Letter 7 Reply

22nd August 2002

Dear Mr Tarrant

PAVEMENT PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD, SLADE GREEN

I refer to your letter dated 8 August 2002 regarding the above.

I believe that Miss Jackson's letters to you dated 26 October 2001 and 31 May 2002, adequately explains the Council's position on pavement parking. In London, it is an offence to park on the pavement other than in clearly marked bays. The pavement parking leaflet you were sent clearly explains the benefits and reasons behind this policy and the requirement for the bays to be clearly marked.

Within London, it is individual Borough Council's that have responsibility for enforcement of the ban on pavement parking. The law itself has been approved by Central Government, as an Act of Parliament. It would, therefore, require a further Act of Parliament to rescind the legislation.

Yours sincerely

JOHN PAYNE
Senior Engineer (Traffic & Road Safety)


A reply to the Senior Engineer pointing out that no one has yet pointed out why roads such as Plantation Road
cannot have a simple blanket exemption instead of unsightly white lines.

Letter 8

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

14/01/03

Dear Mr Payne,

Thank you for your letter dated 22/08/02 in reply to our most recent letter to Miss Jackson regarding footway parking. We must point out that it is not the explanation of the Council's position that we find inadequate, but the position itself. As you say, the explanation in Miss Jackson's letters explaining the Council's position on pavement parking is quite adequate, however, the Council's position itself, we feel, is not. We have gone to great lengths to explain the common sense viewpoint and the viewpoint held by those of us that live in this road. The Council's appreciation of, and response to, the points we have made regarding the practicalities and the various safety issues, is in itself inadequate and we feel not becoming of an authoritative body. If you are going to lay down the law, you should be sure that you have got it right and that you know what is best, and unfortunately, in this instance, despite our best efforts, it can be shown that this is not the case. It can also be shown that nobody else agrees with the Council's position. If nobody else agrees with the Council's position, one would think that perhaps it is indeed inadequate. We have tried to explain the reasons as to why we feel that this is the case, yet despite using every means at our literary disposal, we have not been able to get the Council to understand basic common sense. I wonder why that is? If you feel that your hands are tied by the law, perhaps you could take up the issue with the relevant higher authority on behalf of your disgruntled constituents?

As far as we are concerned, we do not like being posed with the threat of receiving parking tickets for doing the sensible thing in our own road and we do not like the Council's controlling attitude and complete disregard for the feelings of the people that live here. We do not like being told what we can and can't do in our own road, against the grain of common sense and public opinion, by people who do not even live here, and we do not like having parking bays painted all over our pavements when there is a preferable alternative. Many people currently think that the Council's attitude towards the rights of people to use and park their cars efficiently leaves a lot to be desired and we do not find that the Council is improving problems in these areas, but, much of the time, is making them worse. We are also unhappy about the fact that the Council is using public money to do this. It is about time that the local authorities stopped spending our money on things we do not want and started spending it on things that we do.

Please note! Nobody in your department has yet answered the question as to why roads such as Plantation Road cannot have a simple blanket exemption. We would prefer not to have unsightly white lines and marked bays on our pavements, which we have to pay to have painted, when alternatively we could just have a simple sign at the top of the road indicating that the road is Footway Parking Penalty Exempt. This is also what we would like to see for other similar roads where pavement sizes are disproportionate to the width of the roads and where parking on the pavement can be seen to be the sensible thing to do. For example, where the combined width of the pavements is greater than half the width of the road.

If the people in power cannot be seen to serve the people adequately and cannot be seen to acknowledge common sense, then surely something is wrong? We are communicating to you that, as far as we are concerned, it is the Council's position that is currently inadequate and unacceptable. It is then surely your position to do something about this in order to resolve the problems and discontentment?

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant

No reply received


Yet another penalty notice, this time for parking across one's own drive and the ensuing
somewhat fruitless, appeal against it. In the end it cost another £80.00 for the privilege.

Letter 9

06/07/04

Re: BL 41144476 (Registration Number - K877 MGU)

Dear Sir or Madam,

In further to my phone call to Howard on the 05/07/04, I am writing to appeal against the above penalty notice and request that it be quashed. The vehicle in question was not causing any problems and apparently was only issued with a penalty notice because there is no marked bay in that particular place. However, the only reason there is no marked bay in that particular place is because it crosses my drive and the engineer did not paint a bay there because obviously people would otherwise park across my drive. If I did not need access to my drive in this location the bay would be continuous, down that side of the road, just as it is on the other side of the road. I would also add that in the back of my mind is a conversation I had with Linda Jackson, on one of many occasions, about the problems we residents incur in Plantation Road. I discussed with her the fact that people sometimes park across my drive, even though there is no marked bay there and she said that this was not illegal and that the only reason they would not be allowed to park there would be if I had a drop kerb, which I do not currently have. As it happens, this vehicle was only parked there temporarily because I am in the process of swapping it over for a van and as far as I was concerned, it was parked in the most sensible way, outside my own drive, so as not to take a parking space from other residents. Obviously I can move my own car as and when I need to so it does not cause me an access problem. Other visitors to my house, such as my girlfriend and ex-wife, also park over my drive as again, parking is often tight in our road and it does not deprive other residents of a space. Since the footway parking ban was implemented we have had continual problems in this road, vehicles have been damaged and many residents and friends have been penalised, as we see, unfairly and unnecessarily. Speaking on behalf of residents in this road, we are all completely fed up with people who don't even live here, making life difficult for us when we are trying to do the sensible thing. We still have an ongoing problem with the fact that innocent people get penalised for footway parking at the top of the road even though it is the safest and most sensible option. What is wrong with our society when people cannot do the safe and sensible thing in their own road without others poking their noses in from afar?

The shortage and cost of housing nowadays means that more people are forced to share houses. As a result, there are obviously more cars per household. We therefore need every inch of parking space, more, not less. As I have previously discussed with Linda Jackson, we also have the spill-over from the Howbury Centre, and on occasion, the community centre and the church to contend with. This means that at times, residents are very short of parking as it is. It is therefore an issue we are all very conscious about. Even though there is no marked bay across my drive, it should not be a problem for me, or visitors to my house, to park across my drive, outside my house, in this fashion. However, if we are going to be penalised for this it will again unnecessarily complicate the problems we face in this road and make life difficult for us. In my previous letters regarding this issue I have requested blanket exemption for Plantation Road and in fact, this simple move would solve all of our problems. However, as yet, common sense and fair play have not yet won the day, so I will again pick up the campaign from where we last left off with John Payne. I look forward to hearing from you with regard to this issue. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


The Parking Control Office reitterate that it is an offence to park with two wheels on the pavement,
if you are not in marked bay, regardless of whether it is sensible or not.

Letter 9 Reply

21/07/2004

Dear Mr Tarrant,

I refer to your letter concerning the above Penalty Charge Notice.

The PCN was issued to your vehicle because you were parked with two wheels on the footway. Parking on the footway has been banned in roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or less across London since 1975, (Greater London Council Act 1974), with the London wide Footway Parking Ban being introduced in 1985.

The London Local Authorities Act 2000 redefined the definition of the footway to make it clearer for motorists. All London Authorities, (with the exception of Barnet) have accepted the revised definition.

"Any part of an urban road which is not part of the carriageway"

Further to the above, the footway as stated in Michelle Moseley v The London Borough of Bexley (PaTAS case number 2030070442) is "all land from the edge of the carriageway to the building line. It includes 'crossovers' which give access from the road to adjoining premises. There is no requirement for any signs and the vehicle need not be causing an obstruction".

A vehicle may only be left on the footway if the Local Authority has made the location exempt from the Footway Ban. Such roads have blue signs showing how a vehicle may be parked if it is parked on the footway. However, to make it clearer for motorists in roads exempted from the ban in the London Borough of Bexley, white marked bays have been placed where motorists may park if they wish to park on the footway. These bays are only found in exempted roads and there are no other general concessions for motorists within the London Borough of Bexley.

Please note it is not common practice for Local Authorities to provide white marked bays, and each Local Authority may quite correctly adopt other methods of footway parking provision. The only statutory requirement is the provision of blue signs showing that exemptions to the ban are evident. It is the motorist's responsibility to ensure that they park their vehicle legally, safely and correctly at all times.

Whilst I note the points raised in your letter, I must advise you I am unable to cancel the PCN on the grounds you have stated, as it is the responsibility of the motorist to ensure that they have parked their vehicle legally and safely in accordance with the restrictions. In view of the above I am satisfied that the PCN was issued correctly, in accordance with the restrictions, and I would ask that you send your payment to: - Parking Control Office, P.O. Box 379, Bexleyheath, Kent, DAG 8LE. Please make your remittance payable to Bexley Council.

Alternatively, you may pay by credit/debit card by telephoning 020 8301 5200,between 9.00a.m. and 5.30p.m. or using the remittance slip at the bottom of the notice. When this PCN was issued, the full penalty charge due was £80.00, unless payment was made within 14 days. As you have made a representation within the discount period, the amount of £40.00 will still be accepted for 14 days from the date of this letter. Failure to pay in the 14 days will result in the withdrawal of the extended discount offer. The Council will issue a Notice to Owner (NtO) form to the registered Keeper of the vehicle requiring payment of the full charge of £80.00 within 28 days. The NtO form should be used to make a formal representation to Bexley Council against the issue of the PCN if you wish to contest our decision.

Important - Please be aware that a digital image may have been taken of this vehicle whilst committing a contravention under the Road Traffic Act 1991. This image may be used as evidence in the event of the penalty charge being disputed.

Yours sincerely,

Parking Control Office
Vinci Park Services UK Ltd
Working for Bexley Council


A counter reply to the Bexley Council, pointing out that the vehicle in question was parked
in the most sensible fashion and causing absolutely no problem to anyone.

Letter 10

22/07/04

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

Dear Sir or Madam,

Thank you for your reply, dated 21/07/2004, to my letter, dated 06/07/2004, regarding penalty notice BL41144478. However, it is clear from the photograph that you have provided that the vehicle in question is parked sensibly and not causing a problem, there should, therefore, be no question of a penalty notice being issued against such a vehicle parked in this manner. I have already stated that the reason there is no marked bay in this location is purely because the location crosses my drive. The engineer that painted the bays told me personally at the time that he would not paint a bay there so as not to encourage people to unwittingly block my access. That is the only reason. In a modern and just society, penalties should only be levied against people who are doing wrong, not people who are doing the sensible thing.

Footway parking is essential in Plantation Road because the pavements are very wide, 2.66 metres on one side and 2.77 metres on the other. The road, by comparison, is very narrow at just 6.1 metres wide. An average vehicle is approximately 2 metres wide (including wing mirrors), and vans, delivery lorries and fire engines are wider than that. It doesn't take a genius to work out that if vehicles are not parked on the footway in such circumstances, it causes access problems, not just for residents and delivery lorries, but also for emergency vehicles, and possibly could even endanger life, as I have indicated to Bexley Council on more than one occasion. I therefore charge the local authority with being grossly irresponsible and directly accountable for the amount of unnecessary aggravation, damage to vehicles, and access problems that we have had to endure. I am also charging them with unjustly ripping us off in a continual and consistent fashion by deliberately failing to acknowledge and address a serious problem as communicated by the residents that live in this road, and to acknowledge a simple, commonsense solution.

Over the years since this ridiculous, indiscriminate and poorly thought out legislation was brought in, we have had a high degree of vehicle damage, considerable access problems and we have been continually milked for trying to do sensible thing. Despite writing a number of letters to the local authority, we have not managed to get any local autonomy for the people that have to live here. This would not be so bad if we could see that the authorities were right, but it is plainly evident, as far as we are concerned, that they are not! The blatant disregard and lack of consideration being expressed by the local authority and the army of people that represent it, is currently cultivating a high degree of bad feeling amongst the residents. I put it to you that the mentality you promote is the same mentality that is causing war in other countries, the same mentality that is responsible for terrorism and the same mentality that our ancestors fought two world-wars to try and prevent. Let us remember that the Nazis were just following orders too!

Unless you can substantiate that the vehicle in question is parked in a dangerous manner, or in a manner so as to cause obstruction to others, there should be no question of a penalty notice being issued. I will be writing to John Payne yet again to try and get this issue resolved to the satisfaction of the people who have to live here because we are all completely fed up with this issue and the problems that go with it. The next letter to John Payne will be letter number seven in reply to the last letter we received, which he sent on behalf of Linda Jackson in August 2002. Letters three, four, five and six were addressed to, and answered by Linda Jackson herself. This does not include letters, such as this one, regarding parking fines. It also takes no account of letters written previously, or letters written by other people, regarding these problems.

Yours faithfully,

D.J. Tarrant


Bexley Council's 'Notice of Rejection', as usual ignoring common sense and completely overlooking everything
that we have said to them over the years, and of course, another £80.00 for their coffers at our expense.

Letter 10 Reply (Extracts from two sheets)

Notice of Rejection of Formal Representation (FR)
Road Traffic Act 1991 (as amended)

Liability for payment of this Penalty Charge rests with
the person considered to be the keeper / owner of the vehicle

Thank you for your formal representation against the issue of the above Penalty Charge Notice. Careful consideration has been given to your representation, however, on this occasion insufficient reasonable cause has been demonstrated which would allow cancellation of this charge. Further details concerning the Council's decision to uphold the issue of the Penalty Charge can be found on the following page, and the options open to you are listed below:

OPTIONS

  • The Penalty Charge of £80.00 must be paid before the end of the period of 28 days beginning with the date of this Date of Notice of Rejection. Payment received within this time will be accepted in full and final settlement. Please use the payment slip below, further details on how to make payment and details of the possible recovery action that the Council may take should neither payment nor an appeal be lodged, can be found on the following page.
  • Lodge an appeal against the Council's decision to reject your formal representation with the Parking and Traffic Appeal Service, (please read the following paragraph carefully)

Appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeal Service

Fully complete the appeal form that we have attached to this Notice of Rejection and submit it to the address printed on it within 28 days of the Date of this Notice of Rejection. Please note, failure to complete the appeal form completely may invalidate your submission, any appeal forms submitted to the Council will be returned by second class post, and may delay your application further.

Reasons for the Council's decision to uphold the issue of the Penalty Charge:

As you are aware, and have been advised in previous correspondence, the Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was issued to your vehicle because it was parked with two wheels on the footway. Parking on the footway has been banned in roads with a speed limit of 40 mph or less across London since 1975, (Greater London Council Act 1974), with the London wide Footway Parking Ban being introduced in 1985.

A vehicle may only be left on the footway if the Local Authority has made the location exempt from the Footway Ban. Such roads have blue signs showing how a vehicle may be parked if it is parked on the footway. However, to make it clearer for motorists in roads exempted from the ban in the London Borough of Bexley, white marked bays have been placed where motorists may park if they wish to park on the footway. These bays are only found in exempted roads and there are no other general concessions for motorists within the London Borough of Bexley.

Please note it is not common practice for Local Authorities to provide white marked bays, and each Local Authority may quite correctly adopt other methods of footway parking provision. The only statutory requirement is the provision of blue signs showing that exemptions to the ban are evident. It is the motorist's responsibility to ensure that they park their vehicle legally, safely and correctly at all times.

I am satisfied that the PCN was correctly issued, in accordance with the regulations. Furthermore, in the light of the correspondence between you and the Council's Traffic Engineers, I am satisfied that you were aware of the footway ban at the time of parking and I can therefore find no grounds for cancelling it. Your representation has therefore been rejected.

What happens if I do not pay or lodge an appeal against the Council's decision within 28 days

A Charge Certificate will be sent to you, which increases the full charge by 50% to £120. If the increased Penalty Charge is then not paid, the Council will apply to the County Court to recover the charge as if it were a debt payable under a County Court order.


A response to the above 'Notice of Rejection' accusing Bexley Council of behaving like the Nazis
and ripping people off whilst blatantly ignoring common sense and the problems we face in this road.

Letter 11

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

14/12/04

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing to complain about the letter I have received rejecting my representation against the issue of penalty notice BL41144476. The letter I have received actually says that ‘insufficient reasonable cause has been demonstrated which would allow cancellation of the charge’. This makes me wonder whether, first of all, anyone has actually read the correspondence relating to this issue, and secondly, if so, what world they are actually living in, because it is certainly not the same one as the people that live in this road. The case for Plantation Road, similar roads, and issues such as this penalty notice, has been painstakingly and repeatedly pointed out to Bexley Council over a number of years. What’s more we are the ones that have to live here, not you. If you did live here you would think just like we do. As it is, your logic is perverse and unbecoming of a public authority, as is your lack of attentiveness to our PROBLEM. Who is it that is responsible for making our lives difficult and taking absolutely no notice of our feelings or our predicament? Presumably not the faceless squiggle on the letter I received, that looks more like a snake than someone’s signature: and I wonder why that is?

In our opinion, penalty charges such as this are a wholly unjustified, blatant theft of an obscene amount of money. They contravene common sense, fair-play and any decency and dignity for a local authority, who, in instances such as this, are behaving no better than a common thief and plunderer. Speaking on behalf of the general public, we are completely fed up with being abused and pushed around against the grain of decency and common sense by people whose wages we are paying and yet who continue to make a mess of things, wasting our money on things that very few of us actually want, whilst unjustifiably ripping us off in the process. You are the real criminals - not the people you victimise. If you want to behave like the Nazis did in World War Two, you should, likewise, expect some resistance.

With regard to Plantation Road and roads of a similar structure, I have suggested more sensible, viable and realistic criteria in my previous correspondence with which to judge and control footway parking and it has been completely ignored. You do not seem to be interested in getting the best result for the people that you are supposed to be serving and whom pay your wages. Why is that I wonder?

We accept the fact that it would be difficult to restructure the pavements and make them a more practical and realistic width, so if you can use your imagination, imagine that if the pavements were the right and proper size, my car and others in a similar position would have been parked in the right place, leaving plenty of room for pedestrians and wheelchairs and enough room for motorists, delivery lorries, dustcarts and emergency vehicles to access the road. We didn’t construct the pavements to be that width, and we didn’t ask for them to be that wide, so why should we be punished on a regular basis because of an anomaly which is the result of someone else’s error of judgement and not in the least our fault! We have to live here! You don’t! Unlike you, we are not causing anyone any problems, so why can’t your people just butt out and leave us alone!? I look forward to hearing from you with regard to you taking a positive approach to solving this PROBLEM, for and on behalf of the residents that live here. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Mr D. J. Tarrant

No reply received


Another letter to the Chief Engineer about the continuing problems and continual exploitation of the residents.

Letter 12

RE: FOOTWAY PARKING IN PLANTATION ROAD

28/08/04

Dear Mr Payne,

I am writing to you again because we are still incurring problems in Plantation Road with traffic wardens issuing penalty notices, as we see it, unfairly and against the grain of common sense. I therefore am taking up the issue again from where we left off, until the problems with the current legislation can be sorted out. This issue, and the problems relating to it, go back years now. It is completely unacceptable that residents living in this road are being treated and disregarded the way that we have been since this ridiculous, indiscriminate and poorly thought out legislation was brought in. This is the kind of attitude and behaviour that our ancestors fought two world wars to try and prevent and yet it is still going on. You are spoiling our quality of life and we are looking for a change.

I enclose a copy of the last letter I sent to Miss Jackson, a photocopy of your reply, so as to refresh your memory, and our reply to your letter, dated 22/08/2002, which at the time was not sent. I also enclose a copy of a letter I have recently sent to VINCI Park appealing against yet another parking ticket and the circumstances in which it was issued, the reply I received from them upholding the penalty notice and the reply I have sent to that. Others in this road have also been issued tickets unfairly and many people just pay because they see no other option. It is way past time that the people we pay to order our society started doing so to the satisfaction of the people that they are supposed to be serving and whom they charge considerable amounts of money for the privilege. I look forward to hearing from you and working towards a commonsense conclusion that the people who have to live here will be happy with. I would also like this parking penalty waived on the grounds that it is completely unreasonable. Thank you.

Yours faithfully,

Mr D. J. Tarrant

No reply received


SUMMATION OF THE PROBLEMS IN PLANTATION ROAD

The situation goes on unchanged even though public opinion in the road shows that no one agrees
with the local authorities attitude, or with their policy, or with the way in which they exploit people.

And so it goes on....

Tip Of The Iceberg: The correspondence listed is only a small proportion of that which has been written by residents to Bexley Council about the issues in this road. Over the years, hundreds of penalty notices have been issued against residents and their unsuspecting friends, as well as to people visiting the local church and adult education centre, who also park in this road.

Problem Widespread: Problems in this road are typically representative of a policy and mentality widespread in many areas, with certain local authorities being quick to realise that they can boost their coffers with this type of underhanded behaviour, knowing full well that the public are caught in a trap not of their own making. As has been pointed out to the local authority, compounded by the cost of housing, and offspring not being able to afford to leave their parent's home, parking is at a premium nowadays, and we need every inch. However, rather than help the situation with a sympathetic view and a sensible approach, all the local authorities appear to do is see is an opportunity to exploit the difficulties people are facing for the purpose of making more money. They have admitted that they have a choice and do not have to enforce the pavement parking ban, therefore, when it creates so many problems, why are they? We have suggested other criteria with which to judge, but in a control freakish fashion they insisting that you must be in a marked bay, whether it makes sense or not. However, if they happen to have omitted to paint a bay in a certain place where you need to park on the pavement, apparently, it's still your fault if you park on the pavement and get a fine. The fact is, the local authorities ideas are not working for people, so perhaps it’s about time they started to listen to some of ours.

Public Frustrated: The way things are at the moment with Bexley Council’s policy means that in any roads where the pavements are wide and the road narrow, and a degree of footway parking is essential, people will probably have painted bays in which to park, however, people will naturally not have marked bays close to, or across, their drives, therefore they cannot pavement park close to, or across, their own drive without the fear of being penalized for it. It also means that if they have friends and relatives visiting at any time, they too cannot park close to, or across, the drive without being penalised. This is obviously a problem situation which leaves the public frustrated and short of parking space, while the local Council rubs its hands all the way to the bank.

Such Roads Should Be Exempt: How much money do they make from this single anomaly? The amount of money they make may have something to do with the fact that they are currently refusing to acknowledge this problem, or change their policy to suit public demand. In the meantime, for the public trying to go about their business, footway parking is essential in many roads and, as we all know, much of the time, there is a shortage of parking anyway, therefore, we need every inch of available space and cannot afford to be hampered by individuals that have no idea and no sympathy and who are not prepared to listen to the people that pay their wages. Where footway parking is necessary in a road there are generally no other options! The obvious way forward in an instance like this one is for the road to be completely exempt from any footway parking ban. Simple! Until you involve the local authority that is!

Authorities Create The Problem: The fact is the authorities have created this problem, the authorities maintain this problem and the authorities benefit from this problem. The residents that live here, and who help pay the wages of the local authority, can do little but suffer the abuse and financial exploitation from people who simply refuse to acknowledge or admit that they are the ones causing the problem, however....

  1. The authorities are responsible for the dimensions of the roads and the pavements.
  2. The authorities are responsible for the poorly evaluated footway parking ban.
  3. The authorities are responsible for the petty enforcement of the footway parking ban.
  4. The authorities are responsible for ignoring the feelings of the people that live here.
  5. The authorities are responsible for failing to comprehend the problems they are causing.
  6. The authorities are responsible for not taking better solutions on board.
  7. The authorities are responsible for making lots of money from a frustrated public trying to go about their business.
  8. The authorities are rubbing their hands all the way to the bank!

No Better Than Pirates: But how much would it cost Bexley Council to admit that they are unjustly ripping people off and re-evaluate their thinking? Obviously enough to keep them in the corruption bracket. Life was a lot better before such sleazy, deceitful and underhanded people realised that they can use such motorist related problem to make pots of money. Parking, covert speed cameras in unnecessary places, congestion charging, the low-emission zone, etc... The authorities are no better than pirates - and it's getting worse.

A Nice Little Earner: The local Bexley paper, the Newsshopper, reported in its October 22, 2008 edition that Bexley Council grossed over 2.4 million pounds in the year 2007/2008 from parking penalty notices alone. With running costs at around 1 million, this left a clear profit of 1.4 million. Nice work if you can get it!