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?
OK, I get it, so this is what is meant by the term ‘shared use path’, after all it would be so unfair if only pedestrians and cyclists were allowed them and motorists had to find somewhere else to park. And that grass; is that what Philip Hammond meant when he said that the government would ‘sweat our transport assets to get value for the taxpayer’?
Check out this Google Maps aerial view of the area in Bristol where the video was taken. Thank you SteveL for the tip off to the location (see comments section below).
Section 143 of the Highways Act 1980 gives authorities powers to remove any “structure [that] has been erected or set up on a highway“, including “any machine, pump, post or other object of such a nature as to be capable of causing obstruction notwithstanding that it is on wheels”. This is interesting. This covers things that ‘are capable of causing an obstruction’ with no requirement to prove that it was an ‘unnecessary obstruction’ and a ‘willful obstruction’ and that anyone was actual obstructed all of which make other obstruction regulations pretty much useless.
So… the question of course is when is a vehicle a structure and covered by this act. I have been looking out recently for mobile homes and similar stuff. Here are a few examples. The first one is, I understand, owned by an active member of the green party who prefers to leave it on the road / pavement rather cluttering up his pretty front garden. The second one is appropriately called a ‘highwayman’ (as in highway robbery?). The final three pictures show a very large caravan which has been left on the verge for so long that the grass has died under it. Possibly the magic ingredient is the number plate – even the caravan has a number plate (even though one doesn’t actually need to pay any vehicle tax for a number plate for a caravan). I would so love to stick up a shed on the highway and see how long it took for the council to come round an complain! My guess is that they would be round within 24 hours demanding that it was removed. Possibly I should put a number plate on it?
Mobile home left almost permanently on the pavement
This one is even called ‘Highwayman’
Huge caravan almost permanently on the verge
A 4×4, caravan, car and large van outside one house
Clearly this caravan hardly ever moves from here
Ipswich borough council has recruited flowers into their fight against inconsiderate verge parking along this new shared-use
cycle footway. The first time I noticed it there were no vehicles on the verges and it looked like this:
Planting to discourage verge parking
Today when I went past there was this builder’s van tucked onto the side of the verge. I will keep an eye on this verge and see if it ends up with cars all the way along and with the planting crushed. “Fighting like the flowers” is the title of the autobiography by the wonderful Lawrence D Hills’, a pioneer of the organical gardening movement in this country.
But there is still room for one flat-bed truck on the remaining grass
Continuing the recent theme of highlighting companies that park their vehicles in a manner that make a mockery of their company values, here a photo of a vehicle belonging to ‘Envirocars’, a new local taxi company with a strong environmental theme parked needlessly across a verge. Every car is plastered with ‘green’ messages including one that claims ‘all emissions offset by tree planting‘ which is good, but it does mean that they are going to need to a broad range of environmental policies to avoid criticism, for example to not parking on the verges. I phoned the company and I was put through to someone who listened considerately and said they would follow it up with the driver. I would love to report at some time in the future that they put effective policies around verge and pavement parking into place so this will never happen again!
Environmentaly friendly? Hmmm….
Envirocars – destroying verges
No need to be parked on the verge at all.
Today I discovered that councils that completely ignore cars left all over the verges then get agitated when local residents use painted rocks, home-made posts or whatever to protect these very same verges. Councils refer to these rocks as ‘items left illegally on the verge’. take for example this page published by Surrey CC entitled ‘‘Protecting Grass Verges from parking‘: “Some residents may take their own measures to prevent parking (often plant-pot shaped concrete blocks or large rocks). Although these can be aesthetically pleasing, it is an offence to place unlawful items on the public highway. If seen or reported, we have the right to request that the items are removed.” Needless to say, having removed these home made defenses the council in all likelihood doesn’t then have the resources to replace them: “All methods require funding from very limited maintenance budgets. Funding may be provided specifically for verge protection but this is not always guaranteed“.
This same page also confirms that “There is no legal right to park on a road, verge or footway.” (so that makes cars ‘illegal objects’ as well doesn’t it?). So… what does the council do about these car shaped illegal objects? err.. they seem to just pretend that they are not objects after all. So there you have it, simple when you know how!
In a curious twist, verges in Surrey can be protected by a clause in one of those odd local Acts of Parliament which should have died out in Victorian times but which are evidently still being created. In this case the ‘Surrey Act 1985 (section 5) which allows the council to ban verge parking simply by placing a sign saying ‘no parking’ on the verge. Not a lot of people know that and I shouldn’t think it is that effective as a result! Not sure why it was necessary to mention horses and cattle in the 1980s? I wonder how much parliamentary time was taken debating if sheep, swine and cattle should or should not be included?
Here is the relevant section of the Surrey Act 1985:
“This section applies to any of the following land in a district which, being in, adjoining or accessible from a highway, is maintained in an ornamental condition (whether by mowing or otherwise):—
(a) a grass verge,garden,lawn or green managed by a local authority; or
(b) land laid out as a public garden or used for the purpose of public recreation which is vested in a person other than a local authority.
“A local authority may by notice prohibit, either entirely or at such times or on such days as may be specified in the notice, the doing of any of the following things on land to which this section applies:—
(a) driving, riding or leaving vehicles;
(b) allowing horses or cattle to enter;
(c) using any equipment provided on such land.
“A person who, without reasonable excuse, contravenes a notice displayed under this section shall be guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine not exceeding level 2 on the standard scale.
Back in March 2010 it was reported that Brighton and Hove council was looking into using a by-law created by East Sussex Council which banned parking on verges but which hasn’t applied to the area since the 1990s when Brighton and Hove became a unitary authority. Councillor Meadows, who was promoting the idea explained that: “Parking on grass verges not only causes a muddy mess during winter months but also problems for people wanting to cross roads safely”.
Given that I can find on further reference to this idea then I suspect that it may have been dropped. The local paper did however publish a helpful photo of a messed up verge.
Muddy verges could be a thing of the past … possibly (copyright image)
Needless to say, one doesn’t need to go to Brighton to see such scenes, there are plenty available closer to home!