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Parking malpractice


Just because I’ve gone 47 years without a parking ticket doesn’t mean I am unconcerned about the issue. Probably it is because I am concerned that I have been able to evade the clutches of the uniformed vultures, though maybe I should curb my dislike for them and remember that it is council officials, sometimes dishonest ones, who impose their will unfairly on motorists. There are of course many offenders who will flout even the most sensible of restrictions. Only yesterday I saw a red van parked on the pavement outside the hairdressers’ in Abbey Road because he couldn’t park on the road, it being a pedestrian crossing. And as he was double parked with another car there was no way through at all on the pavement.

But almost as often it is the council which is being stupid or worse. Ten years ago Abbey Road was a pleasant road that passed by the green slopes leading up to Lesnes Abbey. Now it is a dangerous obstacle course. It started innocuously enough back in 2000 when the council decided to impose a Controlled Parking Zone to curtail commuter parking. They consulted residents, including me, and to give them their due they did appear to take some notice of it. I could probably accommodate five cars on my driveway and another in the garage. Most others nearby are not so lucky, so although I would benefit from restrictions, because I am very occasionally blocked in, the majority would be inconvenienced, so I voted against the lines and we have none.

In Abbey Road where residents may have welcomed the Controlled Zone, parking bays were introduced whereas previously parking had been a free-for-all. Some bays looked rather narrow to me and I measured them. Just under 170cm. My own 1600cc saloon car is nearly 200cm wide across the wing mirrors. I asked the council why they weren’t even as wide as a modest car and would they be issuing penalties to those who could not fit within the lines. They said that the lines were the regulation 1.8 metres. This was simply not true for some of the spaces. Further correspondence confirmed motorists might be fined and I was invited to challenge their stance in court.

Soon after that the section of Abbey Road between Florence Road and Carrill Way (north side) was selected for further restrictions. I’ve no argument with that, a cycle lane was installed and there was no room for that and parking. It’s a piece of road I can see from my home so I was able to watch it closely. First the statutory notices went up, then a week before the order was due to come into force in went the yellow lines and signs. The very same day the ticketing began and I put these issues to Mr. Martin Low. Assistant Chief Engineer.

At first he denied the lines were painted before the order had become law but I assured him they had been. So he went away for quite a long time and then explained that that it was usually impossible to get the lines put in on the day the order came into force so it was done early and “to do it the other way around would reduce the income from fines”. Illegal or what?

All the above taken from letters written on Bexley notepaper.

Residents’ parking permit charges
More parking malpractice by Bexley council

September 2009

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