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Bonkers Blog April 2014

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15 April (Part 1) - When a parking fine becomes a lottery

Corner crossoverThe law about parking and dropped kerbs ought to be pretty clear; as a rule of thumb, don’t park across them, but things are in reality more complicated than that. Bexley council has a good leaflet on the subject which explains things. Probably you should read it yourself but in essence, at any crossover giving access to more than one driveway or at the corner of many roads, keep well away. The complicated bit is the law as it applies to single access drives. You can park in front of those unless the owner has asked the council to enforce restrictions. How is one to tell if a single drive is registered or not? It’s another trap for motorists, best keep away, especially as it is extremely inconsiderate to block anyone’s drive.

When a crossover is part of a relatively straight road, where one should park is very obvious. You stop either before or after the footpath crossover. But what if the crossover is at a corner such as the one outside my own house? One can legally park against the kerb to the right of the first picture but how far along it do you have to be to not risk a fine for blocking a driveway? No one knows.

In my road the question is academic, no one here is such an evil wotnot as to tittle-tattle to the council if access to their drive is a little restricted but remains possible. Not everyone is so lucky.

Sherwood Close, Bexley Sherwood Close, BexleyThe Google Earth picture shows a similar situation in Bexley. As you can see, a line of cars is parked along a cul-de-sac right up to the house at its corner. (Top middle of Photo 2.) There are no parking restrictions and no marked bays, so how close to the house in the corner can you park without risking a fine? Once again, no one knows.

I went to take a look for myself at the weekend and did not meet a friendly reception. However it was obvious that the corner resident was never likely to be blocked in by anything less than a small bus. Clearly this is not a road as harmonious as my own but someone who objected to me carrying a camera told me that the situation was in practice very simple. If you are a friend of the corner resident you can park pretty much where you like and if you are not you will probably be reported to the council and fined. If he is correct it is legally very far from being satisfactory.

Coptefield DriveA resident who has been fined for parking as in Photo 3 asked Bexley council for guidance. How far away from the awkwardly placed drive does one have to be to be able to park free of persecution? There must be a place at which parking become unreasonably close to a drive and there must be one at which it is just as clearly perfectly OK. The Listening council refuses to say, in fact it is worse than that, the Listening council refuses to reply to any enquiries. It is much more profitable to issue a fine on the whim of a resident.

Photo 3 also shows that the corner resident could never be blocked in by a parked car, although in an extreme case he may have to drive over some grass. It’s a good job he doesn’t live in my road (Photo 4) where people put up with a bit of inconvenience now and again and no one complains about people carrying cameras.

Bexley council should never allow any single resident such arbitrary powers. It’s bad enough that they adopt them for themselves.


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