Sunday, July 30, 2017

Just the Ticket – Parking Wars

Redbridge has been in the national news this week for issuing parking tickets to residents who have cars parked on their own drive. Except that those residents who had cars parked wholly on their drive did not get ticketed, It was only those whose cars were overhanging and obstructing the pavement, otherwise known as public space not owned by the householder.

The fact is that the 1974 General Powers Act made parking on the pavement an offence anywhere in Greater London, except where specifically allowed. The fact that people have been doing it for years without a problem is not the point – it is the law. However, just starting to enforce it without any notice to those affected is a bit naughty.

In fact a similar thing happened in Redbridge a few years ago (about 2008) when car owners who had happily been parking two wheels up for years in residential streets far away from any restrictions or parking zones suddenly started getting parking tickets.

On this occasion it was the Conservatives who were accused of using the motorist as a cash cow. Their response, and that of the Cabinet member at the time, Michelle Dunn, was to initiate a review of parking on every street in the borough and decide whether or not to specifically allow pavement parking in that road. The first ward to be done was Fullwell and that was some years ago now. We now have two wheels up signs all over the place. I lost track after that but if the programme is not yet finished, complete coverage of the borough must be near.

Before we go on it is worth having a look at how these issues crop up from time to time, rather than point the finger of milking the motorist at the current administration.

The parking enforcement operation is, as I understand it, contracted out by the council. This means that the Traffic Warden (or whatever they are called these days) is stuck between the two stalls of council policy and their own management. In theory the presence of parking enforcement should deter motorists from parking inappropriately and if that is working well it would mean less tickets issued. However, we all know that’s not how things work in the real world of modern day employment. Employees are assessed on performance and here the easiest thing to measure is the number of tickets issued per operative. I would not be surprised if there is a monthly prize for who issues the most.

But back to the issue of overhang. There are lots of streets in Redbridge, and elsewhere, where this happens. However, most residents with restricted space will be sensible and buy a smaller car, one that fits wholly on their own property. And it’s not just those roads with small front gardens. It also occurs in roads with huge driveways that can accommodate 3-4 cars, but that household has 5-6, and the last one home gets to overhang.

We should also note that in 2012 Redbridge council adopted a new policy on dropped kerbs whereby you don’t get one if the off road space is not big enough for a car to be parked at right angles to the road. We pointed out the problems with this at the time, see above link.

We are yet to find out how this latest issue will resolve itself – are the wardens acting unfairly or are the car owners taking liberties? And what about the national campaign by Living Streets and the many local people who complain about pavement obstruction? What do you think? Answers in the comments please.

In the meantime we are advised by Howard of two online resources to help motorists in these situations.

London Tribunals - the new name for the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS)

PePiPoo – Helping the motorist get justice


  1. If anyone has a PCN issued by a Council I recommend the brilliant Pepipoo web site which is free registration. You will get expert advice but need to load all details of ticket and location but please delete any personal information. Obviously best advice is don't get ticketed in the first place. The appeal system is quite fair providing you have the correct appeal reasons.

    Its not just Council's that motorists have problems with. Many people have issues with the private parking scams that are hitting motorists all over the country. The government changed the law a few years ago to ban clamping and that was a good move but there needs more work and research done because private parking companies are fleecing motorists and the law needs changing again. There is a massive section on private parking on Pepipoo.

    Howard Berlin

  2. Obstructing the pavement can sometimes prove difficult for wheel chair users. i was pushing a friend some time ago and we could not get passed the parked car because thee was a steep camber on the pavement and the wheel chair would have tipped over. We had to go into the road to get passed. We have a long car and park it at an angle on the drive.

    1. Incorrectly parked cars are also a major hazard for blind people.

  3. About time too!

    For years I've had to contend with cars parked so far out across the foot-way that it has been necessary to walk in the road to pass them.

    How people with prams and buggies, not to mention wheelchairs, get on I don't know - if there is also a lot of on-street parking either side of the offending vehicles the diversion onto the road for them can be several houses long.

    Most front gardens are much wider - the width of the house - than deep. In the photo it is clear that there is ample space to park parallel with the road and completely off the foot-way but the motorists simply can't be bothered!

    If the lady in the BBC report who keeps hitting her house can actually park at right angles to the road without overhanging I would suggests she put a large baulk of wood on her frontage so that, when her wheels touch it, she knows when to stop. Of course we don't know if she has the space to park parallel with the road (it would be a very narrow house if she can't!) and just can't be bothered ...

  4. I have no patience with all this. If your front garden is too small, then do not buy a car. Simple! Front gardens are for planting - not as car parks. I have lived for 84 years without a car. Vans overhanging pavements with the black step are a hazard in the dark. Cars that stick out onto pavements should be removed and scrapped! And their owners should be placed in the stocks. No stocks? Let's erect a set outside Sainsbury's and have some fun on Saturday mornings. Redbridge is becoming a giant car park - no wonder obesity is a problem.

  5. I would say that as long as people / wheelchair users can get past (the usually accepted "measurement" of "free footway" is 1.2 metres (or 0.9m for a very short distance), then surely people should be able to "live and let live". The Council do appear to not be in control in this matter, and leave it to contractors, who leave it to their operatives, some of whom appear to be "jobsworths".

  6. It appears that Redbridge has noticed its revenue falling as it puts up more signs allowing pavement parking. To solve its problem it seems it has started removing signs from some roads. Buxton Road in Newbury Ward has had parking pavement signs for years but suddenly the signs have been removed from along most of this narrow road. The outcome is that unsuspecting drivers have been ticketed.

  7. One of my neighbours paved over his front garden and then applied for a dropped kerb. It was refused. A couple of weeks later two guys with sledgehammers arrived and knocked down the porch. He applied again and the dropped kerb was permitted and installed. A couple of weeks later two guys with a barrow of bricks arrived and rebuilt the porch.