December 7 2013 Latest news:
by Nathalie Raffray
Friday, October 18, 2013
Residents on a Hampstead road got a rude awakening this week when parking wardens hit them with “overnight” fines.
Up to 20 car owners in West Heath Road are thought to have been affected after Camden Council urgently suspended parking on Wednesday so Thames Water could repair a collapsed sewer.
Residents claim the signs were only put up sometime in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday.
They awoke to find they had been given fines despite having little chance to move their cars.
But the council insists signs were erected on Monday, giving the residents fair warning.
Diplomat Lawrence Landau, 83, honorary consul for the Republic of Benin, in Africa, was alerted to his fine by a neighbour at 8am on Wednesday.
He said: “I have a residents’ parking permit and the ticket says my car is on a suspended bay.
“There was no notice at all to say it was being suspended. I returned at 11.30pm last night and I didn’t see a notice. The whole thing is outrageous.
“The easiest thing in the world would have been if they’d knocked on our doors, said it’s an emergency, and will we move our cars.”
The road has parking restrictions from 12.30pm to 2.30pm Monday to Friday and most residents have permits, costing them £180 a year.
Yellow signs on lampposts said the parking bays had been suspended due to road works and would be out of use until October 25.
None of the residents that the Ham&High spoke to plan to pay their fines.
Businessman Howard Stein said. “They’ve given no notice at all, they’ve literally come along last night and ticketed the whole three, four, five bays worth of cars.
“There’s no way that everybody would have missed the bright yellow signs saying parking is suspended.”
A spokesman for Camden Council said 14 days notice would normally be given for a suspension, expect in urgent cases like this one.
However, he disputed residents’ claims that signs only appeared on Wednesday morning, saying they were put up on Monday.
He said: “The parking bays on West Heath Road have been suspended to allow Thames Water to repair a collapsed sewer serving local properties. We erected signs as soon as we possibly could to warn residents of the need to suspend the bays and until they are clear the repair works cannot commence.”
The council was unable to say how many fines were issued.