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#Waitrose trash their own verge?

25 May

I recently noticed that Waitrose had parked one of their home-delivery vans on the verge right outside the entrance to their own Saxmundham store. I wonder if they always do that, and if that is why the verge has turned to mud? There is a huge message on side of the van which talks about being responsible, which they are not being really. Then there is another which reads ‘we shop like you shop’ however I don’t think that should give them the right to park like the most selfish of their customers! I can only assume that they just hate the idea of loosing a single parking space in their large car park, but I wonder if they said they would do that on their planning application?!

Needless to say it is illegal to park on the verge next to double yellow lines (unless they are fake lines as they were claimed to be at the Mercedes garage in Ipswich).

Showing the Waitrose van and their large car park and store beyond

Waitrose apparently trash the verge outside their own store

I wonder if their will respond to this post when they see it on twitter?

Not-so-Smart cars at Mercedes Ipswich?

28 Mar

Mercedes of Ipswich provide their customers with delightful messages about the ways they will be able to park their new acquisitions when they get them home, particularly their ‘not-so-Smart’ cars. I spoke to one of their managers about it, expressing amazement at how they were flaunting just about every parking regulation going; he responded by explaining that they painted the lines themselves on their own property and that none of them had any legal weight, he also explained that “no one walked there anyway”! Personally I think they should be sending out much more responsible messages.

Not-so-Smart cars lined up on ‘pavement’

More cars on the ‘pavement’

A pedestrian cops it, and you just can’t fit two smart cars in one space!

Ouch! another the pedestrian bites the dust

Can we help Tesco help themselves?

24 Mar

Tesco appear to need help, and I am not talking about their ‘ shock profits warning‘ last week after which their UK boss quit; I am referring to a phone conversation I had with them yesterday following a complaint I had made in which they assured me that Tesco require all drivers to abide by all laws, including all motoring laws at all times. Now this is very interesting because  rule 145 in the Highway Code which reads “You MUST NOT drive on or over a pavement, footpath or bridleway except to gain lawful access to property, or in the case of an emergency” with a penalty of £500 for each offense (Highways Act 1835 section 72). They assured me that they never allow their staff to break this law!

HA1835 S72 has of course been almost completely ignored. A FOI request I made on the Suffolk police last year showed that they had only prosecuted 6 people county wide for this offense during 2009, which included prosecuting kids for riding motorbikes on heaths and bridleways etc. They were not able to identify the circumstances of each incident and I suspect that none related to people parking vehicles on pavements. What I have did notice while researching this post was an article in the Daily Mail which claimed that ‘only’ seventeen cyclists were prosecuted for cycling on the pavement in London in 2008 (which the DM thought though was way too low of course).

The police tell me that it is impossible to prosecute pavement parkers using HA1835 S27 because they would need to wait and gather evidence as to who was actually doing the driving. Technical advances have of course come to the rescue, and suddenly most of us carry the necessary evidence gathering equipment with us all the time; phone/cameras proved crucial following the London riots, and also resulted in the conviction of a police officer for the unlawful killing of Ian Tomlinson during the G20 riots. I see no reason why we can’t use them for our purposes now.

I think we need a test case; a quick internet search shows that many people are upset about Tesco driving (and parking) on pavements and also littering pavements generally; and that is without even getting into the wider issues relating to their size and business practices. Are they a suitable target for our purposes? I use the word ‘target’ deliberately, because I think we need to focus on a single large public company that disregards the law every day all across the country and make an example of them that they, and others, cannot ignore. We could of course choose any of the delivery companies (DHL, TNT etc) who are equally bad, however I think Tesco are the best one for us, especially given their assurances that they always obey all laws! Please let me know what you think in the comments section? Will you be able to help by gathering video of local examples? Fyi, we have been offered the support of a powerful environmental law company with this campaign and they should be able to help out along the way with this particular project.

Finally, here are some photos. The first two are from the Daily Mail who campaign vigorously when it comes to riding bicycles on the pavements, as in this example where they even quote the highway code rule ‘You MUST NOT cycle on a pavement’ in virtually the first sentence! However.. they don’t even mention that both of these Tesco vans have broken the highway code in a similar manner and that the first has completely blocked the pavement!

Daily Mail don’t even comment on breaking highway code

Daily Mail again, and again no comment regarding driving on pavement

Tesco illegally driven on pavement in Cambridge

Tesco van illegally driven along pavement in Ipswich

Obstructing pavements in Westminster

Remarkable amounts of rubbish in Kennington!

Illegal pavement advertising by Tesco in Bournmouth?

Tesco, a persistent offender?

22 Mar

Today I am focusing on Tesco, who park on the pavement (and I believe break the law) close to where I live virtually every week when doing their home deliveries. What bugs me is the way that nothing changes despite numerous conversations with their drivers over the past year; each week they come back to almost exactly the same spot. This time they inconvenienced a total or three pedestrians, including one with a small child in a buggy. Drivers normally explain that they park on the pavement to avoid inconveniencing motorists and that they receive no guidance on not parking on the pavement from their company blar blar… (in other words the same old stuff).

What is very interesting about this is that Tesco (and just about everyone else who parks on the pavement) appears to be breaking section 72 of the delightfully old Highways Act 1835 which is still in force and is probably one of the most powerful laws available to us which states that it is an offense: “If any person shall wilfully ride upon any footpath or causeway by the side of any road made or set apart for the use or accommodation of foot passengers; or shall wilfully lead or drive any horse, ass, sheep, mule, swine, or cattle or carriage of any description, or any truck or sledge, upon any such footpath or causeway“. The great thing about that law is that there is very little wriggle room – there in nothing about such driving needing to be ‘unreasonable’, ‘unnecessary’ which makes the obstruction law so useless. All one needs is suitable evidence which can be provided by virtually by a mobile phone with video recording capability. Any recording needs to show the situation, the pavement, the vehicle registration number and the driver’s face. The offense can lead to a fine of ‘Level 2 on the standard scale‘ which is currently a maximum of £500 which might make them pay some attention. It would of course be necessary to convince a court that it was worth their time to bring it to court. This is certainly something to explore in much more detail going forward.

Here are a bunch of Tesco photos; the first is from last week’s delivery and the last two from today’s delivery showing that not much has changed.

Tesco delivering on 15 March 2012 – no space for pedestrians

Back on the pavement on 22 March 2012. Pedestrians approaching with buggy.

Another view of the 22 March delivery

As always, I will email Tesco and ask for their thoughts and let you know what happens!

Update

Tesco have come back very efficiently and very promptly and assured me that it is company policy that Tesco home delivery vans should always obey all traffic laws and as such should never drive on the pavement!

As such, I am sure they would be interested to hear from anyone else around the country who has problems with Tesco vans up on pavements. If you have a problem then do please email customer.service@tesco.co.uk with details of the incident and provide the following details:

  • Time and date
  • Vehicle registration number
  • Street name and town
  • Your contact details

Do please also drop a comment with the the details of the incident (but not your personal information) onto the comments section of this post and we will see if anything changes as a result.

May Gurney – if at first you don’t succeed….

15 Jan

Taking the advice of the old saying which goes “if at first you don’t succeed then try, try and try again” I have again confiscated some of May Gurney’s signs  after finding them illegally blocking the pavement (signage must always leave 1 meter clear for pedestrians). As always when I remove their signs like this I email marketing@maygurney.co.uk and tweet using the twitter handle (@maygurney) and invite them to come and collect them.

We are making slow progress though. There was no obvious effect to my complaint in October 2010 – we exchanged friendly emails but nothing changed, and then when I confiscated two illegally positioned signs a year later I didn’t even get any response at all beyond the standard automated email acknowledgement. Only after I had removed a 2nd set of dangerously positioned signs did I finally get an email and phone response promising action. They also arranged to collect the four signs that I had in storage for them by that time.

Unfortunately they are still blocking pavements so we need to keep going a little longer! In this latest incident notice that:

  • the road works themselves are almost entirely on private property and hardly intrude onto the pavement, let along onto the carriageway which is not affected at all (so there is no logic to warning motorists of a narrowing road)
  • the signs are causing far more inconvenience to pedestrians than the road works themselves (even before one of the collapsed).
  • oh yes, and notice that the other pavement is blocked as usual by a car, so that pavement is not easy to use either.

Two signs ilegally obstructing the pavement

Localism, or mob rule supported by the police?

10 Dec

Localism, the new coalition policy, is about allowing local people more say on what happens in their local area. The government’s plain English guide to Localism explains that “Instead of local people being told what to do, the Government thinks that local communities should have genuine opportunities to influence the future of the places where they live” (page 11). By contrast, mob rule (or, it give it it’s official name Ochlocracy) is a form of government where a vocal and intimidating group impose their will on a community. The Wikipedia article on Ochlocracy defines it as “government by mob or a mass of people, or the intimidation of legitimate authorities“. I note this recent article in the Financial Times on the risks of mob rule titled “Risk on the rise as political leaders give in to mob rule” showing how the current banking mess could descend into something very scary.

So.. when the police explained to me that they were not giving the owner of these vehicles pictured below a ticket because a number of people in the area didn’t want them to were they acting in the spirit of localism, were they being intimidated into not performing their legal duties or were they just being pragmatic? Is it the police’s job choose where to apply the law and where not? Before deciding not to put a ticket on the vehicles did the police do diligent door to door inquiries to see if there were any disabled people or old people who would like to get out safely, or children, or parents who walk to school but find the parking in the area just too difficult? I am sure they didn’t. The police do however have a newspaper cutting of the April 1 event we staged on the same street highlighting the difficulties that parents with young children have using the pavement  on their noticeboard which they take round schools. It seems hard to square that with allowing 100% blockage of the pavement because a few neighbours want it.

Fyi, these vehicles are breaking numerous very clear laws – in particular parking against the flow of traffic at night and parking at night without sidelights (a special rule for commercial vehicles over 1525kg curb weight) – and these streets are unlit between midnight and 5am. There are also the harder to prove offenses of ‘driving on the pavement’ and ‘causing an obstruction’.

R+J Windows and Debbage and Tubby (uPVC windows etc)

Total blockage

Everest Windows, same spot and I understand also the same driver

Another older view of R+J Windows

Royal mail – An attitude problem?

7 Nov

Why on earth is this driver parking on the pavement? Normally the excuse is ‘I had to park on the pavement’, but in this case there are virtually no over vehicles in view. A different royal mail vehicle parked in exactly the same position the previous week – when I asked why he didn’t park across the road 20 meters away on the carriageway the driver explained that it was ‘too far’. This it not an isolated case unfortunately. There are more below and a few weeks back I blogged about this royal mail vehicle that obstructed two double decker buses in the centre of Ipswich. The driver explained that he could park exactly where he felt like because he was working for the crown!

Why park on the pavement when the road is empty!

Proper pavement parking

Not getting out, just sitting there on a double yellow with the door open while having a chat

Personally I think it is for the Royal Mail to do something about this. They need to do more ‘pedestrian awareness’ training or whatever and prove that they take the issue seriously. If they continue to park like this they will continue doing serious damage to their reputation.