Monday, 14 November 2011

Parking Failures in Medway.

Another continuing problem has raised its head again, the spectre of parking in Medway.

It's attack is three fold.

1. Aldi Car park.

Regular customers at the popular budget super market on Duncan road will have discovered over recent months that the hour and a half free parking was reduced to an hour.
The Supermarket, who subcontracts the monitoring of the car park to another company "parking Eye" took the decision at an above store level possibly motivated by patrons who used the carpark to use Gillingham High street.
Although there was a sign posted, many customers were not aware of the change until the fine arrived in the post!
A recent "Focus" news letter rightly points out that an hour is quite a small amount of time to get in and out, especially at peak times or if you are elderly or disabled.
A source at the store has said that it was out of the control of the Gillingham staff but that people with fines should contest them if they feel aggrieved - though Focus states that "Parking eye" are NOT considerate to the elderly or disabled.
As a private company Aldi and their subsidiaries are free to act as they see fit on their property. A sign was posted clearly, there was a months grace which has now past. Maybe greater consideration could have been taken and reports in the local press have customers who have vowed never to go back but as the recession bites and money gets tighter budget stores, such as Aldi, get increasingly popular, they will not miss the few customers they lose.

*Stop the Press!!!* Just as I was finishing this article my source at Aldi has informed me that ParkingEye and Aldi have changed the rules so that Blue badge holders are now immune to the regulation. Well... that's a bit better but what if you're elderly but not disabled?

2. The CCTV car.

According to an article in the Medway News last week there ,may be a loophole that means the council could have to pay back £1 million at a time when it needs to save £5 million and find money for Medway Tunnel, fund the unwanted Medway City bid...
Anyway, according to Mr Nigel Wise of "No to MOB" who is currently representing a case against a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) claims the certification from the Vehicle Certification Agency is:
"defective and deficient" because it did not list the recording system used on the vehicles as required by law.

Also the operators are not reviewing the footage as they are filming it, rather it is being reviewed by Council staff at a later time which is in violation of the Council's own guidelines!

Mr Wise is representing the case of a Ms Hubbard of Twickenham and has won a similar case against Richmond council is confident that should a similar verdict be returned then it could mean all of the CCTV PCN's could be overturned and a full refund due.
Medway Council have declined to comment until the hearing is complete, however as Medway council seem to make oversights all the time it wouldn't surprise me if this turned out to be a big red face moment for the Council!
[ CCTV car's fines may ALL be void - by Max Evans, Medway News, 3-11-2011]

Further to that in the letters page (p.20) there was a section on parking in Medway about the case of a Mr George Cook of Rainham it appears that he was issued a PCN and found that there was an irregularity in the paperwork. The offence was issued and posted on the 2nd of September but the post mark is dated the 5th. This is a contravention of the Civil enforcement blah blah blah 19/2 (a). Ultimately that PCN was overturned.
In a similar case three more people were issued PCN's. When they consulted the Traffic Regulation Order they discovered that the land was indeed private land and the Council had no right to charge them for parking there!

I would advise people to go to the Strood Parking Services office and ask for a copy of the TRO, it's costs a total of no more than 10 pence. They HAVE to supply it to you or the low rung civil service lackey will be hit with a fine and more likely they will lose their job and in these insecure times who wants to lose their job?
Forewarned is forearmed and 10p to avoid a large fine is much more preferable!

3. Parking on pavements.

How can you get a buggy in this gap?
The standard of parking in Medway, indeed the general Traffic law, is poor. As a pedestrian I've almost been run over on the pavement outside the Cats protection shop in Gillingham, knocked over by Taxi's who speed through zebra crossings when you are on it or just last week by an Arriva van that didn't stop at the red light at Gillingham station crossing...

But it is not the dicing with death at the crossings or the simple walk into town that vexes me, no its parking on the pavement. This happens after hours or on the weekend so the perpetrators are actually immune to the Council's over zealous checks but it renders the routes impassable when you are carrying shopping bags or even pushing a buggy. I've often found walking down "Livingstone avenue" in Gillingham, pushing my daughter along and found I cannot get by. If anyone knows Livingstone avenue they'll know there is a particularly blind bend in the street which is where the parking bays swap sides of the road, this is where you have to cross the road.
I don't mind doing that myself... well I do but I'm an adult and can keep flat against the cars or run across roads but when I'm pushing my daughter I can't and won't risk her life just because some one has thoughtlessly parked across the path.

I know there is a shortage of parking spaces in the residential areas and there are more than one car per household however we, the pedestrians are paying the price. Can the Council do anything about this? In the regeneration plans for Medway can they provide residents with parking so that we can reclaim our footpaths?


To wrap up, there are a lot of questions and problems facing Medway Council and the residents over parking issues and there seems to be no easy solution. I'm glad the Aldi situation has resolved itself but the ongoing CCTV car nightmare and the parking in residential areas are still ongoing and no light in the tunnel.

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