London Borough of Lambeth (15 005 575)

Category : Transport and highways > Highway adoption

Decision : Upheld

Decision date : 17 Dec 2015

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: There was no fault in the way the Council decided not to move a parking bay from in front of Miss B’s house. The Council delayed responding to Miss B’s request to remove it. The Council has now provided a full response.

The complaint

  1. The Council placed an on street parking bay outside Miss B’s house. The parking bay extends half way across the dropped kerb at the front of the house. This prevents her using space at the front of the house as a parking space. She says she has asked the Council to remove the bay and not received a proper response.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Ombudsman investigates complaints about ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. In this statement, I have used the word fault to refer to these. She 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, she may suggest a remedy. (Local Government Act 1974, sections 26(1) and 26A(1))
  2. If the Ombudsman is satisfied with a council’s actions or proposed actions, she can complete her investigation and issue a decision statement. (Local Government Act 1974, section 30(1B) and 34H(i))

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I have considered Miss B’s written complaint but not been able to speak to her. I have also considered the Council’s responses to Miss B through its complaints procedure and the Council’s response to my enquiries.
  2. Miss B and the Council have had the opportunity to respond to a draft of this decision.

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What I found

  1. When Miss B bought her house, although there was a dropped kerb in front of it, there was no off street parking area within the property. The Council’s photograph shows the dropped kerb was in front of the house’s forecourt. A brick boundary wall enclosed the forecourt.
  2. Miss B says she bought the house on the understanding from the seller that she would be able to put a parking space at the front.
  3. The Council marked out residents’ parking bays on the road which came into operation in December 2013. A photograph from the Council shows there was still a boundary wall across the front of Miss B’s house at this point. One of the bays extends half way across the front of the house. The Council says it had consulted residents about its proposed parking scheme and got no response from Miss B’s address. Miss B says the Council did not notify her of its intent to change parking restrictions on the street.
  4. At some point after the parking bays were marked out Miss B knocked down her front boundary wall and created a paved area at the front of the house. She intended this as an off road parking space. However she did not apply to the Council for permission to do this.
  5. The Council’s Transport Department gives permission for construction of crossovers as long as they do not adversely affect highway safety. Once permission for a crossover has been given a resident can apply to the Council’s Planning Team either for planning permission to create a parking space or for a certificate of lawfulness for a parking space already there.
  6. Miss B wrote to the Council on 1 September 2014 asking if it would remove the bay obstructing access to her parking space. The Council responded on
    10 March 2015. It apologised for the delay.
  7. The Council said it would not consider changing the on-street parking arrangements until it had confirmed the legal status of Miss B’s off-street parking space. At that point the Council had no record of giving consent for it. The response suggested the Council was still dealing with the issue.
  8. Miss B chased the Council for a further response. The Council replied in July. The Council confirmed it had no records to say Miss B’s off street parking space and crossover had the Council’s authorisation. The Council said it could not change the existing on-street parking arrangements unless the parking space and crossover were properly authorised.
  9. In its response to my enquiries the Council has confirmed to me that, if Miss B were to apply now for consent for her crossover and parking space the Council is unlikely to grant it because they do not meet the Council’s highway safety requirements.

Findings

  1. The Council’s decision to place an on street parking bay in front of Miss B’s property was taken properly. The Council consulted residents about the scheme and took into account the conditions on the road at the time. Miss B did not build a parking space within her property until after the Council had both considered and implemented its on street parking scheme.
  2. When Miss B asked the Council to remove the on street parking bay the Council delayed responding to her. That delay was fault by the Council. However, the Council’s eventual responses to Miss B, and its response to my enquiries, has now given Miss B a full explanation. It is now clear the Council will not remove the on street parking bay and why. Now Miss B knows this, there is no outstanding injustice to her.

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Final decision

  1. I have completed my investigation and I uphold Miss B’s complaint. Although the Council was not at fault in deciding not to remove the parking bay, it delayed responding to Miss B. As it has now responded, there is no outstanding injustice to Miss B.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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