Kennington Community Council: Council questions the validity of parking restriction
Posted on 23rd March 2023 at 17:13
Kennington Community Council is questioning the validity of the bus stop clearway introduced on Faversham Road in the lay-by originally built to provide short-term parking for shoppers using local businesses in the parade above the bus stop. The new restriction led to businesses closing on Sundays (https://www.kentonline.co.uk/ashford/news/pointless-layby-closure-forces-chippy-to-shut-on-sundays-280666/)
The restrictions were introduced without consulting the local business owners. This is not illegal, but Department for Transport guidance recommends local authorities to consult those affected and Kent County Council policy is also to consult on a voluntary basis. This may create a “legitimate expectation” to be consulted.
More importantly, in the view of the Council, is the requirement that local authorities “should also ensure that the hours of bus operation are taken into consideration when deciding the timings of restrictions for bus stop clearways.” This is clearly not the case because restrictions apply on Sundays when the timetables on display at the bus stop show that no services operate on that day.
The Council was planning to write to Kent County Council to question whether the order introducing the restrictions was invalid, but the County Council has taken the pre-emptive action of informing the Community Council that it will not reply to any further correspondence. Any legal action to challenge the validity of the order and to challenge the legality of the fines already imposed will need to be taken up by those directly affected.
The Community Council has received data from the County Council suggesting that the bus stop is only used two or three times a day by passengers wishing to ride to Ashford. The Council has argued, so far without success, that this means that the parking restrictions are disproportionate. The data also suggest that buses only spend a few moments a day stationary at this stop. It would therefore not cause serious obstruction to traffic flow if the stop were to be re-located further along the road.
All requests for a site meeting between the Community Council, local business owners and the Highways Department have been rebuffed.
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