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Southwark's Draconian Parking Restrictions

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Saturday 22 November 2003 9.09am
OK I know, I can rant. But usually its related to the important issue of retaining SE1's green space. By and large my view is that modern local Government, particularly in urban areas, is a real challenge and that in the main the service provided is not too bad.

However Southwark parking....... There was a thread a short time back and I failed to appreciate the level of frustration.

The rules state that you are allowed to pay 50% (a mere 50) if you pay within 14 days. You are not allowed to pay and then make representations. You are not allowed to make representations until you receive a notice to owners which you don't get until 28 days.

So it becomes a gamble. Either pay 50 or run the risk of having to pay 100. Did anyone tell Southwark that 100 is a lot of money. Plus it is out of kilter with other boroughs, which allow you to appeal first and not lose the chance of a discount. Parking charges are not simply a revenue raising mechanism. And if treated as such, become an additional tax on both residents and visitors - and will, in the longer term, act as a drag on the local economy.

I got the ticket in Leathermarket Street at 9.30pm. I had parked safely in a meter space, well outside daytime hours. The street was poorly lit and there was nothing I saw that suggested that I should not have parked there. According to the ticket the bay was suspended. Maybe it was - but it was insufficiently signed on a dark night - plus at that time of night there would not have been any building work or deliveries in the adjacent building. The only point of issuing the ticket would be to raise money, or dissuade people from visiting the area in the evening.

Would love some advice. Or maybe an explanation for the 'assertive' approach. Better still, a chance to make representations and retain my right to a discount.
Saturday 22 November 2003 11.41pm
I'm not sure exactly where the thread is, but the story my boyfriend had was very similar to yours. He wrote a letter, refusing to pay the fine, explaining clearly why he felt it was unreasonable that he had been ticketed. He included photographic evidence of the unclearness of markings and to illustrate the lack of signage. Months down the line, he received a letter from Southwark informing him that they were not going to charge him the fine. A small but quite satisfying victory! (Time on hands at the time!)

Sarah if in principal you want to fight it, then I'd say stick to your guns - the whole thing takes ages, but if you can be bothered to put together a case which it sounds like you've got, then go for it, good luck!

I for one totally agree that they are taking the p*** with ticketing unreasonably round here, but obviously in my experience, they've also been reasonable (if veeee--rrrrr-rrr-rr-r-r-ryyyy slow) about letting the fine go after seeing evidence that they were in the wrong.
Sunday 23 November 2003 7.33pm
I can't remember the details but my husband too has appealed againest a parking fine sucessfully. I think it was something to do with a bay that had been voucher parking which was stopped and there was a delay of several weeks (surprise surprise!) before meters where put in and it was effectively free parking, the meters were then put in, but out of order for another substantial period. During that time he got a ticket, he then appealed and they claimed that they had been inspected and were working however dispite this they still refunded the fine. The meter still didin't work for a week after his ticket was issued.

So maybe the answer is to pay the fine first then appeal if you do not want to risk the additional penalty. None the less I think it is well worth disputing you fine.
Monday 24 November 2003 8.11am
what justification can southwark have for enforcing the law in leathermarket at 9.30pm? I dont drive anymore, ( not safe to be on the roads anyway!)

it's about time the entire parking enforcement should be reviewed in small non-main roads anyway ..reading that back it dont make sense, but i know what i mean! lol..

Thursday 27 November 2003 10.36pm
Thanks all.

Still am confused about whether to pay (50 quid is a lot right now) and then try and appeal, or appeal first and then run the risk of having to pay 100.

Anecdotal evidence is that Southwark Councillors read this site. Nice to hear what they would do. The discount only if you don't appeal still sounds like blackmail.
Friday 28 November 2003 4.14am
You get a discount if you roll over and play dead? flipping heck - I'm with Sophie on this Sarah, if you honestly know that you were in the right appeal..

Anyway why cant you pay then appeal, and when your case is proved in your favour, they return your money plus fifty pounds!
Friday 28 November 2003 4.33pm
Sarah - it depends how confident you are in your counter claim - I wouldn't fancy your chances of getting the 50 squids back after paying it. So if you're serious, don't pay and object when you get the next bit of the ticket - that's how you have to do it anyway if you read how to dispute (on the reverse of the ticket).

But don't just pay it in fear of getting another 50, if you think you've got a case; go for the dispute!
Friday 28 November 2003 7.44pm

I'm not a Councillor now, but when I was....

If people came to me complaining about a parking ticket which seemed to have been genuinely issued in error or unfairly (i.e. not just 'It's not fair, I should be able to park there') I always took it up with the Parking Manager straightaway - making the point that it would be most unfair to deny the right to the discount while the matter was being reconsidered. I always won this point - although I didn't always manage to get the ticket itself cancelled. It is an unfair system and I think worth fighting. I suggest that people who feel a parking ticket has genuinely been wrongly issued should formally make the point in writing to the Parking Manager, saying that they intend to appeal. If they are still told that they will lose the 'discount' if they don't pay the fine before they appeal, they should see their local Councillor. Even if the Councillor doesn't win the individual case, if enough people complain about the basic unfairness, something might get done.
Saturday 29 November 2003 12.05am
Thanks Hilary. Trouble is that I was a visitor to Southwark, so don't have a Councillor there.

Generally I try to walk or use public transport but evenings, when I am on my own, are different. Perhaps Southwark is to be avoided in the evenings. Just in case one of those parking bays has been secretly suspended, and a spare traffic warden is wandering around at 9.30pm on the off-chance there is an out of borough sucker like me.

Ffity quid is a lot of money. Double fifty quid is an awful lot of money.

I will write to the parking manager to see what he says - and then report.
Saturday 29 November 2003 2.36am
Sarah, I think you should write directly to that nice Nick Stanton, seeing as we're all drinking buddies!
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