The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: There was no fault by the Council in a complaint that the Council did not stop motorists parking in front of a garage owned by the complainant.
- Mr X says the Council has not acted to stop motorists parking in front of a garage he owns.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. We must also consider whether any fault has had an adverse impact on the person making the complaint. I refer to this as ‘injustice’. If there has been fault which has caused an injustice, we may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1), as amended)
- If we are satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, we can complete our investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i), as amended)
How I considered this complaint
- I reviewed the complaint and background information provided by Mr X and the Council. I discussed matters with Mr X by telephone.
- I sent a draft decision statement to Mr X and the Council.
What I found
- Mr X leases a garage from the Council. He frequently finds he cannot gain access to the garage because other motorists park in front of it. He complained to the Council’s housing and environmental service teams but they could not do anything to assist him.
- Mr X says the Council’s replies did not make sense as they did not solve the problem. Mr X says the Council gave him a lease for a garage he cannot use. He says he pays a service charge for the garage even though he cannot use it. Mr X says the Council has a duty to provide a solution to the problem as he pays council tax as well for his lease. Mr X wants the Council to place double yellow on the road leading to his garage. He points to another group of garages nearby which he says have the protection of double yellow lines and questions why the road leading to his garage cannot have the same controlled parking. Mr X says the Council could place a metal barrier on the road with access for only residents and garage owners. Mr X feels the Council is not interested in a solution.
- The Council explained a highways officer monitors the situation and when possible will place a notice on any vehicle that is blocking access. At one such visit, a notice was placed on four vehicles. But the notices can only be advisory because they currently have no powers of enforcement in regard to vehicles causing obstructions.
- The Council’s parking strategy 2015-2020 set out the areas in which the Council would introduce controlled parking zones as well as the criteria used to make its decisions on the introduction of controlled parking zones. The Council says its highways team will consider include housing estates/land when parking restrictions are reviewed as part of the borough wide parking strategy. It highlights that any subsequent installation and enforcement of yellow lines is not straight forward as it involves public consultation and the traffic management order process.
- I do not find fault because the Council did not take the actions proposed by Mr X.
- The Council can only take enforcement action if the area forms part of a controlled parking zone. It presently is not part of a controlled zone and the Council does not propose to include it in a zone because it does not meet the criteria in its parking strategy.
- The present parking strategy is due to end in 2020. The Council says the area in front of Mr X’s garage will be considered by its parking team when it formulates the new parking strategy. So, there will be the opportunity for Mr X and other residents to make their preferences on controlled parking zones known to the Council. This seems to be the most likely option available to reach the outcome Mr X wants in terms of enforcement.
- I closed this complaint because there was no fault by the Council.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman