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The Daily Telegraph - Property - - Property Clinic -

Con­tin­u­ing the se­ries in which our Clinic ex­perts pro­vide a guide to those thorny is­sues that can trip up the un­wary. This week, David Flem­ing on res­i­dents’ power We have heard talk that the lo­cal coun­cil might in­tro­duce a park­ing scheme in our street. Do we have any say over it? Un­der the Road­Traf­fic Reg­u­la­tion Act 1984, lo­cal au­thor­i­ties have power to in­tro­duce park­ing schemes. This in­cludes the right to in­tro­duce so-called “con­trolled park­ing zones” where res­i­dents can be charged to park. In de­cid­ing whether to in­tro­duce a scheme, the lo­cal author­ity must take into ac­count the need to main­tain the free move­ment of traf­fic, the need for main­tain­ing rea­son­able ac­cess to premises and the avail­abil­ity of off-street park­ing. And the res­i­dents? No one has been clam­our­ing for a park­ing scheme and we sus­pect the coun­cil is mo­ti­vated by the money it will raise. In a case de­cided in 1995 (where res­i­dents chal­lenged the im­ple­men­ta­tion of a park­ing scheme), the court made it clear that it was not le­git­i­mate for the lo­cal author­ity to in­tro­duce a scheme to raise rev­enue and that there must be ef­fec­tive and fair con­sul­ta­tion. This means that con­sul­ta­tion must take place while the pro­posal is still at a for­ma­tive stage; those con­sulted must be pro­vided with in­for­ma­tion which is ac­cu­rate and suf­fi­cient to en­able them to make a mean­ing­ful re­sponse; they must be given ad­e­quate time to do so; there must be ad­e­quate time for their re­sponses to be con­sid­ered; the con­sult­ing party must con­sider the re­sponses with a re­cep­tive mind and in a con­sci­en­tious man­ner when reach­ing its de­ci­sion. How do we keep track of the con­sul­ta­tion process? The con­sul­ta­tion pro­ce­dures vary from place to place but full in­for­ma­tion should be ob­tain­able on your lo­cal author­ity’s web­site. It is al­ways pos­si­ble for de­tails of the scheme to be var­ied, and in­vari­ably charges will be in­creased from time to time. The­o­ret­i­cally it would be pos­si­ble for an author­ity to re­voke a park­ing scheme, but I can­not imag­ine that this ever hap­pens. Ac­cord­ingly, the time to ob­ject – if you wish to do so – is at the con­sul­ta­tion stage when the in­tro­duc­tion of such a scheme is in con­tem­pla­tion. Con­versely, if there is no scheme and the res­i­dents would like one, they should lobby their lo­cal coun­cil­lor to raise the is­sue. What about other plan­ning is­sues to do with our street? Dif­fer­ent statu­tory pro­vi­sions ap­ply to other mat­ters which may con­cern res­i­dents, such as speed lim­its and light­ing. If you have any con­cerns in th­ese ar­eas, the lo­cal author­ity may be able to as­sist but cen­tral gov­ern­ment bod­ies (such as the High­ways Agency) are likely to be in­volved.

David Flem­ing is head of prop­erty lit­i­ga­tion at William Heath & Co.

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