Builder is ready to construct case against parking rules
BUILDING firms have hit the roof over Camden s parking policies, with one firm vowing to take the council to the High Court. Workmen are finding the spiralling cost of builders permits too expensive and say they are crippling their trade. Ric
BUILDING firms have hit the roof over Camden's parking policies, with one firm vowing to take the council to the High Court.
Workmen are finding the spiralling cost of builders' permits too expensive and say they are crippling their trade.
Richard Chaumeton, who runs DG Builders in Grafton Road, Kentish Town, has been slapped with more than 100 parking tickets and believes the council is using parking penalties merely to line its coffers.
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In a letter addressed to council leader Keith Moffitt, Mr Chaumeton also criticises the high cost of builders' permits, which he estimates have risen by more than 650 per cent in two and a half years.
"I'm going to start legal action - either a judicial review or a straight action," he said.
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"I'm going to issue a High Court summons against the council and its parking services because they are using the process to earn an income.
"This is against the law and in doing this they are behaving in a vexatious manner and abusing their position of office."
In April 2005 it cost £5 a day for a builder's permit. But from this month the price has risen to £33 a day - a cost that is passed on to clients.
In his letter to Cllr Moffitt, Mr Chaumeton said: "Can I suggest you rename the department 'Parking Mugging Services' because I don't really find that you do anyone a service - especially the ratepayers that have building work on their houses."
Mr Chaumeton also believes that by only offering permits by the day rather than by the hour the council is deliberately trying to rake in more cash.
Despite accruing so many parking tickets, the builder has only paid five fines - two of which he admits were legitimate. He said parking officers who know him no longer bother to issue him with parking tickets.
"I say to them go on - give me a ticket, but they don't. Why am I different to anyone else?" he said.
Jack McFadyen, director of JMF Joinery with offices in South Hill Park, also disagrees with the way the builders' permit system is managed.
He said: "The increased cost doesn't affect me directly, but it's definitely unfair on the taxpayer and I'm sure a lot of it is to do with revenue.
"I don't think the system itself is unfair but the way it's managed is. In terms of the parking ticket situation in general it's very frustrating if you're in a service industry like this.
"You constantly have to run around with pound coins in your pocket and it just makes everything that little bit more stressful."
A Camden Council spokesman said the change in the price of builders' permits was introduced alongside other measures to improve the flexibility of the scheme.
He said: "We enforce parking rules to make the borough's roads safer for everyone who uses them, to protect scarce parking spaces for those who have a right to park there and to reduce congestion and keep traffic flowing.
"We utterly refute any suggestion they are used simply to raise revenue - road casualty statistics in Camden fell to their lowest ever level last year, with no recorded child fatalities."
Mr Chaumeton is urging people who have had similar experiences to contact him, by emailing email@example.com.
o For more information on contesting parking fines you can visit www.parkingappeals.co.uk.