A reader of this site contacted me yesterday to give an example of rip off local government. Venturing into deepest Camden, the people’s very own borough, our blogger parked on a single yellow line on a Sunday. There was no parking sign nearby to inform drivers of the hours of operation of the single and double yellows. Common practise elsewhere implied that evenings and Sundays would be free to park. The car was parked neatly, well out of the way of through traffic on a road which was wide enough to take the parked vehicles. There were several cars parked.
Forty five minutes later on return, the car had gone, towed away on Council orders. The cost was £260 to get the vehicle back, as well as the lost time and frustration at having to prove identity of ownership, show a driving licence and all the rest to comply with the fearsome regulations for return of your car. This would be a major financial blow to many caught out in this way, representing the best part of a week’s pay after tax for anyone on average earnings or below.
There are some common features here of jobsworth Councils behaving very badly towards visitors or to local voters trying to use their cars. First, why can’t the rules and conditions be more clearly displayed? So often I search for the rules, only to give up and drive on because they are not on display or if they are they are ambiguous or unclear. Second, why does a wide street have to be restricted on a Sunday where in most places there is a more tolerant attitude? Third, why does a Council have to waste so much time and effort taking a car away when it is not causing an obstruction to the highway? Fourth, why do the penalties for a minor infringement have to be so huge? Surely a fine five to ten times the cost of the parking in an equivalent area requiring payment would be more than enough?
I invite you all who have seen this type of motorist mugging in action to bombard the Chief Executives of the Councils concerned. They doubtless have their own carefully reserved free parking place right in the centre of their towns and boroughs, paid for by the very taxpayers they are busily setting up and milking in this way.