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Help - need advice on how to object to council's plans to force-fit extra parking bay directly outside my house

(19 Posts)
IdesOfMarch Fri 26-Apr-13 10:00:00

This is kind of long, but need to lay out the situation. I realise this query falls somewhere between Property and Legal, but I wanted to start here.

Our street is a bit tight on parking, but everyone manages to park in the marked bays and everyone gets a spot.

Some new people have moved in and they have a motorbike. Rather than parking it in their front garden (there is space, and it's paved) or on the street, which is very safe, they started parking it on the footpath directly outside my house. They live a few houses away, not next door or anything. I don't know why they didn't park outside their house; that's the first odd thing.

I asked them very politely to move the motorbike and pointed out that the council would enthusiastically put parking tickets on it if it was left there. They were very pleasant and they moved it for one day, and the next day they put it back. It was right outside my front gate; the parking is elevated about 3 feet above the houses, and since the front gardens are tiny, it filled the view from my sitting room, particularly when the motorbike had a huge billowing silver cover put over it. I did tell the owners I was really unhappy with it being there, but they feel entitled to put it there, on the basis that it’s not taking up a spot on the street. They sort of shrugged and went back inside their house, cutting off the conversation; they weren’t rude, just sort of vaguely dismissive and evasive - ‘can’t talk about it now’ sort of thing.

In the end, I grumbled to the council and they came out to speak to the owners and warned them that if they continued to leave it sitting on the footpath, it would be ticketed. Apparently during this conversation, the owners of the motorbike asked if they could have the illegal parking on the footpath converted to a motorbike bay. I thought this was bonkers, and assumed the council would see it for the mad idea that it was.

To my dismay, the council is taking their request seriously, apparently without taking into account the many motorbike-size spaces already existing in the street -spaces that could be easily and efficiently converted into formal motorbike parking! The council is assessing what changes would need to be made to force-fit a motorbike bay outside my house (essentially, painting lines on the footpath directly outside my front fence). They are not considering any of the other spaces that are available for this conversion. I discovered all this purely by accident as I was wondering why a man in a hi-vis vest was photographing my front fence.

The council has inferred that there is no requirement for them even to consult with anyone in the street about this, and they said I can’t object because there is no process in place yet so no way of objecting.

I’m really upset as we have a very pretty and tiny front garden that is visible from all the reception rooms of the house. I really don’t want a dirty, shabby motorbike filling the view and I don’t really see why the bay has to be added outside our house, other than the motorbike owner has decreed this is the most convenient place for him. I’m a bit shocked at the council’s attitude and I really don’t know what to do next. Do I make a formal objection anyway? Can I insist on formal consultation? Is it worth approaching the councillor from the ward? Aren’t there any rules about how much space has to be given over to footpaths? This would only affect my house, no-one else in the street would be impacted by this. I have no idea how to proceed. I’ve been a ratepayer since 1994 and this is the first issue I’ve had with a neighbour or indeed the council. Would be so grateful for advice!

Chubfuddler Fri 26-Apr-13 10:02:52

I would contact your local councillor and kick up a stink.

Seeline Fri 26-Apr-13 10:07:04

Definitely put your concerns in writing to the Council.
Very definitely worth speaking to your local Councillors (you don't have local elections next month do you? Some areas have and Councillors will be trying to pull in extra votes wink )
I'm not quite sure of the set-up you are describing - will the parking bay actually be on the pavement? If so what about issues of blocking access for disabled people, blind people, buggies etc
I don't know whether there is a formal process the Council has to go through to establish parking bays, but I would have thought so.

IdesOfMarch Fri 26-Apr-13 11:56:04

Thanks, I have trawled the council website and I'll send a letter with signed delivery to the relevant section.

Alas, our next council elections are 2014. Still, I've found the names of the councillors for our ward so I'm ready to contact them also.

Seeline - sorry, I didn't make the layout very clear. Currently there is enough space at the end of the street (it's a close) for the cars to park nose-in to the houses, but the cars are still on the road. Our house is smack at the end of the street. The owner of the motorbike has requested that a new motorbike bay be added on the footpath, between the existing car parking bays and my house.

To reach 'his' new bespoke bay he's have to ride along the footpath. Unfortunately for us, even if the motorbike is parked like this, there is still just enough space for a buggy or wheelchair to get past, which I think is why the council is considering it.

It's particularly silly because there are two other spots in the street that could be easily converted to bike bays without impacting on anyone's property, and I would totally support that change, but the motorbike owner is determined to claim this piece of land right outside my gate for his machine, which I find really inexplicable.

thanks for input/ideas!

AliceWChild Fri 26-Apr-13 12:07:05

Contact councillor! I'm baffled why they're thinking of putting it outside your house on a pavement

lalalonglegs Fri 26-Apr-13 12:26:05

If he rides along the pavement to get to the spot, see if you can get a picture or video of this and use it to object.

yetanotherworry Fri 26-Apr-13 12:34:56

Where do you put your bins when its emptying day? Would you have space elsewhere, if not could this be a negative impact as having a bike there would mean that your bins take up the rest of the footpath. I would also point out that access to this bay would be via the footpath.

skaen Fri 26-Apr-13 12:39:10

Do you have a county council and a district council? If so, complain to your ward councillor for each with photos. Is the footpath all a public right of way at the moment? If so arguably it could have to be stopped up to add a parking bay there and that shouldn't be done without full public consultation and if, necessary an inquiry.

GreenLeafTea Fri 26-Apr-13 12:42:34

Is it legal for him to ride on the footpath?

If what they are doing is legal then all you can do is keep complaining to the council pointing out there are better places. Be a nuisance!

IdesOfMarch Fri 26-Apr-13 13:15:08

Thanks so much for all your replies! It's a London borough council so I've drafted a letter to the parking section and I'll write to the ward councillor as well. You know it didn't really occur to me about the motorbike owner riding illegally on the footpath to access the proposed bay until I started to type it out, upthread.

I hadn't thought about the issue of the combined bins + motorbike either - although there is enough front fenceline length that we could push our bins along to allow access for pedestrians, though, so I don't know if the council would listen to that objection. The bizarre thing is that the chap with the motorbike has an empty garage on this own property that he can use for parking, something the council is ignoring. Odd.

I'm pretty positive that all the footpath is public right of away across it's full width (I can't see how it could be anything else) so I'd think a public consultation would be a no-brainer, but the chap from the council inferred that they'd decide if a consulation was appropriate after checking with the council's lawyers.

What I am concerned about is that they are taking such a hare-brained and unjustifiable request for a bespoke parking bay so seriously - I thought they'd just say to him "re your request for mad parking bay on the footpath, we've looked at it and there's no way we can agree to that." And that would be the end of it. Instead, they are proceeding like it's a great idea and they want to work with him to make it happen. Very strange!

Still, I will certainly do as suggested and be a nuisance and contact the various councillors and push on things that way. Grrr.

lalalonglegs Fri 26-Apr-13 15:21:53

Is this London council Islington?

IdesOfMarch Fri 26-Apr-13 16:27:38

lala - No it's not Islington; it's more west london. I do hope for your sake that you haven't had the same issue in Islington. On a positive note, at least I have learnt a bit so far about things like escalating complaints (if needed) to the Local Govt Ombudsman, which I didn't know existed, and suchlike.

dopeysheep Fri 26-Apr-13 16:36:22

No advice sorry but I wonder if motorbike guy is shagging someone in the planning dept! Or relatives of someone there. Hopefully not both. Erk.

lalalonglegs Fri 26-Apr-13 16:39:56

Myriad other issues with Islington (although so far not dealt with their parking dept so there's still time for that to happen) - they are proper, written-through-like-a-stick-of-rock, accountable to no one nutters. Glad you're not dealing with them.

Isityouorme Mon 29-Apr-13 06:33:16

Don't you need to have enough space to get a double buggy on the footpath?

Every time it is parked there phone the call under if different names and complain it is an obstruction. Get a few men to call too grin

Cheeky gits!

Isityouorme Mon 29-Apr-13 06:33:52

Phone the council hmm

IdesOfMarch Wed 01-May-13 12:09:47

Well, good news. Having officially logged my complaint with the council and had a very helpful Lib Dem councillor chase this on my behalf, I received a nice note from the council today to confirm they won't be adding any parking bays on the footpath and the current parking will remain as is, so I won't have to put up with motorbike parking very nearly on my sitting room window sill.

Kudos to the council, they dealt with the query very quickly and sensibly, and the chap from the council was extremely polite and professional, whereas, I have to admit, I was very grumpy and quite rude, so they were actually very good about it.

Thanks for the info from all and nice to see the proper processes being followed and issues being dealt with very quickly. Impressed and relieved.

AliceWChild Wed 01-May-13 12:29:42

Great news. grin

Seeline Wed 01-May-13 12:29:53

Good news Ides - it's good to know some Councils can work properly sometimes grin

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