Road sign with gradually dissolving textSent: 01 December 2012 00:04
To: complaints@
Subject: RE: formal complaint about ‘residents only’ parking sign

Thank you for your response to my complaint. Please see my remarks (below).

It may be useful first of all to tell you about the county council Localities fund. Elected County Councillors have been allocated a fund to use on small scale local highway issues within their divisions.

The County Councillor for the area – Cllr [X],  highlighted two issues  […] and the other issue was non-residents parking beyond the rumble strip.

I understand that the above priorities were highlighted by Cllr [X] as a result of his visits to the area and informal consultation with the residents therefore I am unable to provide a history of complaints made directly to Oxfordshire County Council.

I don’t understand why non-residents parking[…]  is a problem if there are no legal restrictions. If non-residents (or indeed residents) are parking illegally, dangerously or causing obstructions, that is different. However,  Councillor [X] cannot point to a history of complaints or any hard evidence to support the existence of such a problem.

Car Park Warden

Car Park Warden (Photo credit: foxypar4)

An agreement was reached with Cllr [X] to solve the two priorities by extending the double yellow lines at the entrance and installing an additional sign. The sign that has been erected at the entrance to [your road] is advisory and therefore isn‟t a permanent enforceable restriction.

I am aware that the swimming pool is due to close subject to an alternative facility being provided elsewhere in the City.

2. Why was there no consultation with residents before erecting the sign? [item 2 of the original complaint]

As mentioned above it was my understanding that Cllr [X] had undertaken localised consultation on this matter.

Could you clarify what form this consultation took and how many households were consulted? When I spoke to Cllr [X] on 3rd November 2012, I understood that he had received “a couple of phone calls” from one resident. He then suggested that “because there had been no consultation” and because this had been queried, the sign would now have to be taken down.

"No Parking" sign

“No Parking” sign (Photo credit: Arthur Chapman)

I also understand that there was a subsequent […] Residents‟ Association meeting on 13 November that both yourself, Cllr [X] and residents attended, where this matter was discussed again. I understand that most residents were happy with the sign.

There were 12 people at Residents Association Meeting on 13th November, including a council officer (who was present in an official capacity), Cllr [X] and myself. My impression was that that the meeting as such didn’t express an opinion one way or the other. In any case, whilst the Resident’s Association appears to be a group of active and concerned citizens with a genuine commitment to the local area, they are don’t have a mandate to speak on behalf of residents. As far as I know, I was the only resident [from my road] at the meeting (I was, of course there in a personal capacity – I don’t claim to represent anybody).

I confirm that the sign is advisory and not a legal restriction however signs of this nature have been deployed in many other cul-de-sac locations across the City and county at the request of residents and/or Councillors and have delivered the required effect of reducing parking problems.

I hope this answers your questions and explains the situation. […]

I don’t think that the substance of my complaint has been addressed in your initial response.

 –       It is still not clear what problem the sign is supposed to solve. Is it related to the swimming pool (as was originally suggested) or not?

 –       Why the sign was put up when there was no evidence to support the existence of the alleged problem.

 –       It is not clear whether there is any requirement for consultation (although it would appear from Cllr [X’s] remarks that there is) and you seem to be unclear about whether you think there was any consultation or not; again, there is no evidence. 

 Each additional snippet of information increases the impression of an irrational and shambolic state of affairs that allows councillors with a cavalier attitude to the public purse to go unchallenged or unchecked.

Editor’s note: I have removed identifying attributes (names, places etc.)  – and cut the text in places to make it (I hope) more readable without changing the sense. Changes and omissions are shown in square brackets [].