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Bonkers Blog June 2013

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13 June (Part 2) - Bexley council. Penalizing motorists at every opportunity

PaidThere has been an unusually large number of parking related enquiries in recent days, nothing like the silly case in Lewisham where a jobsworth ticketed a hearse which had stopped outside a church to allow the pall bearers to remove the coffin. Such things do happen in Bexley but not this week as far as I know. Three reports have involved Residents Parking Permits and two are nearly identical. The complaint is that Bexley does not remind residents when their permit is about to expire, not even an email to those who made the purchase on line.

Nick Dowling suffered that but as he is at work by the time the restricted hours commence and is on his way home at the time they end, he escaped a fine (†). A Crayford resident was not so lucky. A passer-by sent me the associated photograph taken yesterday. Details have been obliterated but the receipt attached to the windscreen reveals that Bexley council took payment for a three month permit commencing 1st June on the 10th and that the permit would be “sent to you shortly”. Not shortly enough to prevent a fine a day until the permit turns up.

A resident of Erith was ticketed by Civil Enforcement Officer BBL559 because he stopped on his own crossover point to open the gate to his drive. The CEO demanded proof that the driver was entitled to stop in front of his own drive - i.e. that the car and house was his and while the homeowner went indoors to find some documents BBL559 left the scene and the driver with a trip to PATAS (Parking Adjudicator).

Controlled Parking Loading BayFinally a visitor to Bexleyheath drove into town and noted that it was a ‘Controlled Parking Zone’ from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Great, it was past 6:30 so OK to stop for a take-away.

The motorist picked her way very carefully through the temporary traffic lights of Arnsberg Way and around the mess that is the Graham Road junction, all the while “making eye contact with pedestrians” and the hazardous features which “encourage people to wander across the street” - both being official quotes from Bexley council - and duly parked in a loading bay outside Wimpy convinced that all was well because it was nearly 7 p.m. An expensive mistake.

The central area, whilst ringed by the the 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. zone, is further restricted until 7 p.m. I walked the motorist’s route yesterday and there is nothing to say the times are different in Broadway apart from a few small signs. If you had previously spotted the large 5:30 p.m. sign on the way in and have not passed another large sign bearing any different time, why would anyone go looking for more parking traps?

The lady’s email ends “I won’t be spending money in Bexleyheath again, and Wimpy has lost a customer”. I have quite a lot of those now. Meanwhile Bexley council is in denial, I've seen their latest excuse sheet.

† Nick wonders what sort of ‘business’ makes no attempt to get repeat orders. Would Bexley council be so lax with Council Tax reminders he asks. I think Nick overlooks one important point. Non-payment of Council Tax may result in a court penalty which goes to central government. Non renewal of Parking Permits has the potential to offset the punitive costs of Bexley’s inflated salaries. I know of one resident who forgot to renew and got three tickets before receiving his permit. Uniquely in ‘business’, bad customer service is a nice little earner for councils.


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