Before I get into the nitty gritty of the whole matter I just want to make something perfectly clear.
I have NO issue with correctly signed and enforced parking restrictions and the subsequent penalties incurred for ignoring or flaunting the parking regulations. During my 20+ years of driving, if I have made the decision to park in the face of the restrictions, I have always sucked it up and paid the fine.
However, I refuse to be tricked, cheated or lied to by an authority who behaves in the way Bromley Council have with their apparent CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) in Bromley Town Centre.
Visiting last weekend for a quick nip to a local shop I found a yellow line on one of the back streets, checked around for any enforcement signs to see what the restricted hours were, found none within a 'reasonable' distance of the spot, so decided it was OK to park there. Before I go on, YES I know a yellow line means there are parking restrictions of certain hours, but with no enforcement signs, was left assuming weekend, like a lot of other places, were OK.
On returning to my car a little while later (10 mins or so) I was greeted by the sight of a parking enforcement officer taking a picture of my car, and starting to walk away (ticket already on the car). Quickly following her and getting her attention I politely enquired what offence the ticket had been issued for. Her first reaction was to seem a little uncertain as to why I was being so friendly about it. I said I had no issue with her doing her job, but just wanted to enquire where the enforcement signs were, and what the operational hours of the lines in fact were. She very politely replied and told me that 'this is a CPZ because its a very busy area' I asked where the signs were placed in the road I was parked in, she then explained that the signs were in fact as you enter the borough of Bromley (my entry point was approx 3/4 miles from where I parked).
I thanked her for her time and drove home.
On the way home I decided to take a look for the signs that I had missed on the way into Bromley, but was unable to find anything. So today, a week later, I decided to video my trip into Bromley, back to the space I was originally parked in, and see if I would notice any of these CPZ notifications on the way in.
I should also add that I appealed against the ticket this week, and yesterday received a reply saying they would NOT be cancelling the ticket as they feel there is adequate signage warning of the CPZ, as I had explained my journey into Bromley, they were kind enough even to state the following....'The Controlled Parking Zone signage will be at all entrances to the zone, including London Road.
Taking the information supplied to me by Bromley Parking themselves, I checked carefully as Bromley Hill turned into London Road, and all the way along it until reaching Tweedy Road, which is the route to the town centre.. I can say with 100% confidence that there are NO signs relating to a CPZ along that stretch of London Road. There are advanced traffic warning signs, directions to the car parks, and other various town centre related information signs, but NOTHING about the CPZ.
So first things first Bromley, be sure of something before you try and use it to prove your point.
My recorded journey continued right along Tweedy Road, down into Kentish Way, still nothing other than directions to car parks, most of which are operated by Bromley Parking, so of course they are keen to highlight sources of revenue, and maybe cloak other avenues of revenue like not telling people about the CPZ and the subsequent ONE HUNDRED AND THIRTY POUND fine.
Continuing along the journey, along the A21 Kentish Way until the junction with the B228 Masons Hill, so I turned into Masons Hill using the right hand of 2 lanes, and joining the road still in the outside of 2 lanes. Travelling down the hill, just starting to pass a bus stop which has a bus waiting at it, I get stopped in traffic with the bus to my left. The lights ahead at the junction of Westmoreland Road change and I prepare to move off. Suddenly as the bus to my left moves forward and I reach just before the junction of Cromwell Ave, and pass the bus stop, to my amazement there IS a CPZ sign after all. But just the one.
I'm sure you want to see this sign that I have tried to describe to you, so here it is. A few shots I managed to grab after parking up, not the same conditions I had been driving in today or indeed on the day in question, but it will allow me to highlight my issue with it I'm sure.
Using the second image as an example, in traffic, with a number of buses stopping and moving away from the bus stop, or even buses or large vehicles queuing in the left lane, which is a pretty frequent occurrence due to the traffic lights at Westmoreland Road, it is ENTIRELY possible to completely obscure this one, single, individual CPZ notification. If this were one of a few, had been placed at the traffic lights turning into Masons Hill from Tweedy Road, or if there were more signs as you continue into High St from Masons Hill... Heck if there was even one at the entrance to Elmfield Road where I was parked, I would whole heartidly accept I was in the wrong and had failed to spot signs which were obvious to road users, as the general guidelines of CPZ recommends. But that's not the case.
Instead, Bromley have erected a single, vague, easy to miss, easy to be obscured, hard to tell where it relates to, sign which is about 18" high, on a lamppost by a bus stop, in an area of extremely busy traffic and pedestrian flow, where your attention and concentration would be better spent on the road.
So this is my point to you Bromley. I love visiting Bromley for many activities including shopping, dining, visiting friends, and have no issue paying to park the car parks you provide. It is refreshing to see a council provide quite so much parking for a town centre, although I appreciate some of it is privately managed. However, my point is, as much as I support the penalisation of stupid and selfish parking, while I think paying a fine received in good faith for one of the above acts is justified.... I feel on this occasion you are in the wrong. You have almost purposely been vague about the operational hours of single yellow lines, failed to put up what most people would consider adequate signage to inform users of your imposed CPZ. And then if that was not bad enough, you insult me by trying to tell me there are signs entering the borough which justify the fine you have issued... Where there are quite clearly NOT !
I told you in good faith what route I entered the borough and town centre by, and you have lied in your response, in writing.
I am also curious regarding the line of 'you were allowed to park to load or unload' Where is the sign that informs me THIS act is permitted? Once again, the sheer lack of signage in this location leads to even more confusion
OK, so I have gone on for long enough on this matter, so I shall sum up what the point of all this is.
My points are as follows.
1/ Your CPZ is NOT signed in a sensible and fair manner, in fact it is barely signed at all, which has no doubt led to many unfair and borderline unjustified parking fines being issued.
2/ Your letter rejecting my appeal for the fine to be cancelled is misleading, inaccurate, and offends me that you try and give me information to justify your actions. Only for me to find it not to be true.,
3/ A single sign may 'just about' tick the box for your legal obligations to advise motorists that they are entering a CPZ, but like any road sign, if it can easily be obscured, it can be deemed inadequate, any by some might even be seen as an attempt to flaunt the regulations in your favour.
4/ Finally, your appeal rejection letter notifies me that your decision is final and that I must now wait for the Notice to Owner before I can formally challenge this penalty notice, which as we all know is the line that all authorities love as it clearly really reads 'last chance for a discount, before it goes up to £130'
I shall return to Bromley tomorrow and get much clearer pictures to represent my point when I formally challenge this ticket. And for this I shall request the assistance of someone to take professional standard images, suitable for proper representation. If the findings are in my favour at the representation, I will then seek to recover costs of travelling to Bromley on two occasions, parking costs, and any charge made for the images and video taken.
A letter reflecting the comments in this blog will be sent to LBB by recorded delivery on Monday, and the signature stating the letter is received will be considered that my notice to yourselves, and intention to recover costs, has been received and understood.
I complain and moan about a lot of things in life that are irritating, annoying and even upsetting, but this is one of THE most anger provoking things I have written about in a long time.
Out of the countless signs pointing people to car parks and other things, you put up ONE to just scrape by the regulation.
Not impressed Bromley... NOT impressed.
Please see below the formal letter from Bromley stating their reasons for not cancelling the ticket,