Council charging drivers £215 for ‘permission’ to cross kerb and use own driveways
A council is charging drivers £215 for “permission” to cross the pavement to get to their own driveways.
Residents on streets in Barry, Wales recently received a “threatening” letter warning them that crossing the kerb could be illegal.
This left locals baffled as they say they had been driving across the pavement for decades without a problem, reports WalesOnline.
Vale of Glamorgan Council said drivers living on Heol Pantycelyn needed an “appropriately constructed vehicular crossing” to cross the pavement and should apply for permission.
But the application alone costs £215 and locals say this sum doesn’t include the cost of the apparently necessary works – which could top £1,000 per household.
What do you think of the council’s decision? Let us know in the comments below.
The letter also warned that the council could “in certain circumstances” do the work themselves – and “recover all such associated costs” from residents.
It reads: “It has been noted on a routine inspection that you are crossing the public highway outside your property with a motor vehicle without the benefit of an appropriately constructed vehicular crossing.
“You may or may not be aware that it is illegal to cross the footway in this manner and the council as highway authority has powers under Section 184 of the Highways Act to serve notice on persons who continue to cross over the footway in this matter.
“However, your cooperation in this matter would obviate the necessity of taking such action.
“The council as highway authority can in certain circumstances undertake these works themselves and recover all such associated costs from you.
“In order to regularise this matter, permission must be sought, applied, and paid for from the council. The cost of such an application is currently £215.”
Mike King has lived on the Heol Pantycelyn for seven years.
He said: “I can’t believe they’ve done it. It’s a big shock to us all. I’m not sure where that money is going to come from. It seems cruel.”
Mr King said hiring a contractor to do the work the council claims is needed could cost £1,000 for each household.
And he claims the state of nearby streets and pavements have long been left in a “shambles” by the council.
He said: “The letters felt aggressive, as if to say ‘you’re lucky you haven’t been fined already’. There was a really threatening edge to the letters.”
The letters were criticised as “heavy-handed” and “bullying” by Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson, who represents the area on the Vale council.
He said residents living on other nearby streets have also received the same letter.
Cllr Johnson said: “Residents are genuinely surprised that the Vale council thinks this is a priority during the coronavirus pandemic.
“Many didn’t know there was anything wrong having either installed their drive decades ago or bought their house with a driveway already there.
“Older residents are concerned they don’t have the money to pay for unexpected works.
“Others tell me they’ve tried contacting companies and been told they’re too busy to take on extra construction work in the timeframe the Vale are insisting upon.
“If the Vale thought this was a genuine problem they could have worked constructively with residents.
“Instead they’ve issued heavy-handed letters insisting on almost immediate payments and action, giving residents very little time to comply.
“Frankly it feels like bullying and it’s a really bad look for the council.”
A Vale of Glamorgan council spokesman said: “Scheduled highway inspections have identified instances where people have been driving onto the kerb and over pavements to access their driveways.
“Under the Highways Act such a practice is not allowed unless a properly constructed dropped kerb which can support vehicles has been installed.
“If this is not in place pavements can sustain damage and require repairs.
“The council has asked properties that do not have properly constructed vehicular access to their driveways to pay for the necessary adaptation work.
“Anyone having difficulty finding the funds should contact the council to discuss the matter.
“Despite the pandemic the council is working hard to deliver across all its areas of responsibility, which includes maintaining the highway network.”
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