'They never come': Neighbours feel abandoned over persistent dangerous parking
- Credit: Archant
Homeowners whose neighbourhood is blighted by lorries blocking the pavement say they feel abandoned by the authorities.
Residents around Crow Lane and Jutsums Lane say their reports are ignored by the Met Police, which says Havering Council has assumed responsibility for parking enforcement.
But after years of reporting the persistent problem to Havering Council, the residents claim lorries still obstruct the pavement on an almost daily basis, endangering pedestrians by forcing them into the road.
Last month, the Recorder reported that a resident had seen children having to take turns running between traffic on their way to a nearby park.
“We are just like a football,” said resident Ajay Pal Singh.
“Everybody is kicking us in different directions."
He added: "We go to the police – but they never come. They send us to the council parking enforcement. We call them. They never come.”
Havering Council has agreed it is responsible for parking enforcement, and said it is "doing all it can to make Crow Lane a safer place for everyone" by deploying officers and bringing in safety measures.
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What’s the problem?
“I have seen, hundreds of times, lorries parked up on the footpath,” said Ajay.
According to advice published by the government, under Section 19 of the Road Traffic Act 1988, anybody who parks an HGV – defined as a vehicle over 7.5 tonnes – on a footway is “guilty of an offence”.
Government websites say most parking offences are enforceable by local councils – with one key exception: obstruction.
According to Department for Transport (DfT) guidelines published in 2019, parking any vehicle on the pavement and obstructing it in a way which would force pedestrians into the road is a criminal offence, enforceable by police, not local councils.
But, Ajay claimed: “The police just drive past and don’t say anything. One day I stopped a police car and pointed out a lorry parked on the pavement and asked him if he was going to do anything about it.
"He just smiled at me, waved his hand at me and said ‘bye’ and left.”
The test case
On August 9, Ajay spotted a lorry parked on the pavement.
He took a photograph, logged onto his computer and filed a police report with his evidence attached.
He sent a copy of the police report to the Recorder and this newspaper asked the Met to explain what they were doing about both the August 9 incident and the persistent nature of the problem.
They did not answer questions about Ajay’s August 9 complaint but did provide a statement about Crow Lane more generally.
“Due to local concerns, we regularly patrol the area and while HGVs parked in a residential area can be imposing, we have not seen evidence of parking that is illegal or would be a danger to pedestrians or other road users.
“If illegal, irresponsible or dangerous parking is seen by officers, action will be taken and where appropriate, the driver will be reported.”
The Recorder queried this claim, pointing out Ajay had sent photo evidence of illegal parking on August 9.
We also forwarded the Met a collection of residents’ photographs showing lorries blocking the pavement on other occasions.
The Met replied that “while images provided by local residents are extremely useful in highlighting issues, they are a snapshot in time and may not always provide sufficient evidence to support consideration of a prosecution.
“Given that the local authority are responsible for parking enforcement, I think that they would be better placed to answer your questions on this occasion.”
This newspaper asked Havering Council whether it agreed that it was responsible for enforcing against the criminal offence of obstruction – and it said it was.
“It is the council’s responsibility to enforce unlawful parking on roads and pavements,” said Viddy Persaud, Tory cabinet member for public protection.
“We regularly deploy officers to enforce against the unlawful parking taking place on Crow Lane.
“We appreciate the concern and frustration of residents. We are working with them to bring in additional safety measures.
“The council is doing all it can to make Crow Lane a safer place for everyone. We also ask drivers to be mindful of residents – especially young families – when travelling to and from this area.”
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