The Ombudsman's final decision:
Summary: There is no evidence of fault by the Council when installing a disabled parking bay, which reduced the length of a H bar across the complainant’s dropped kerb. There was no requirement by the Council to consult neighbours and officers are of the opinion, after looking at the site again, that Mr X’s drive is still accessible.
- The complainant, whom I refer to as Mr X, complains that the Council has not followed correct procedures when installing a disabled parking bay. He says the Council has reduced the length of an H bar across his dropped kerb and installed a disabled parking bay for his neighbour which restricts his access. He wants the Council to move the parking bay.
The Ombudsman’s role and powers
- We investigate complaints of injustice caused by ‘maladministration’ and ‘service failure’. I have used the word ‘fault’ to refer to these. We cannot question whether a council’s decision is right or wrong simply because the complainant disagrees with it. We must consider whether there was fault in the way the decision was reached. (Local Government Act 1974, section 34(3), 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 read the papers submitted by Mr X and discussed the complaint with him.
- I considered the Council’s comments about the complaint and any supporting documents it provided.
- Mr X and the Council had an opportunity to comment on my draft decision. I considered any comments received before making a final decision.
What I found
- Mr X has a dropped kerb. For many years he had an advisory H bar which marked the dropped kerb.
- Mr X’s neighbour applied for a disabled parking bay outside his house. The Council installed the bay and reduced the H bar.
- Mr X complained about the reduction in length and said his drive was being obstructed. Officers met Mr X and explained that the length of the H drive was originally too long and the Council had now corrected it so it is the correct length. It also said that his neighbour’s bay had been correctly installed. In response to Mr X’s concerns, the Council sent a letter to the neighbour saying he must not park beyond the bay boundary and, if he did, the Council might remove the bay. The Council says Mr X has not reported any breaches of this agreement.
- Mr X has alleged that his neighbour has breached the property boundary. He also raised issues of inconsiderate parking on the other side of the dropped kerb.
- There is no evidence of fault by the Council. The photograph shows that the H bar spans the width of the dropped kerb. The Council has inspected the site and found no safety issues or problems with the parking bay. It also facilitated an agreement with Mr X’s neighbour. The Council also says Mr X can get in touch regarding the wider issues of obstructive parking but it may be an issue for the police.
- The Council has said highway officers do not consult when installing disabled bay markings. As there is no Council policy which requires them to do so, I cannot say it was fault not to consult Mr X. The Council has said that if there is space outside the house frontage to place a disabled parking bay then one is marked out. In this case, this did mean that Mr X’s H marking was reduced slightly. The Council has said that it considers that the reduced H marking is more than sufficient to keep the access to his drive open and accessible.
- I understand that Mr X disagrees with the Council’s decision on reducing his H marking. However, I can find no fault leading up to that decision and so cannot criticise the officer’s professional judgement. The Council has said that if the neighbour the other side of the disabled bay agrees, it may be possible to move the marking. This is something that Mr X can contact the Council directly about and not something the Ombudsman can pursue further.
- I have completed my investigation of this complaint. This complaint is not upheld as I have found no evidence of fault.
Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman