RAC Cars News


Newbury Parking Row

By raccars Published

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A row is erupting in Newbury, Berkshire, over council parking bays which could be repeated in a number of other British towns and cities. A Newbury resident has been investigating the size of council parking bays only to find that many do not meet the government's minimum parking bay size guidelines, leading to motorists being fined for exceeding the limits of bays.

Stan Green, a retired architect, took a measuring stick to a number of car parks in Newbury and found some examples were almost a metre shorter than current government guidelines. With 142 incidences in 2014 of drivers being fined £50 for parking outside parking bay lines by West Berkshire Council, Mr Green is embarking on a campaign, to make the local authority issue refunds to those drivers penalised for failing to park in bays which were too small in the first place.

Mr Green's study suggested that up to 90% of Newbury's parking bays failed to meet the minimum dimensions recommended by the government. Mr Green failed to find even a single bay big enough to reasonably accommodate a large saloon or SUV, and some were not even big enough for a Mini to fit fully within the lines. About 30% of parked cars had strayed across bays during Mr Green's study, which in theory, left their owners at risk of a fine. According to regulations, parking with a wheel on a white line marking the bay edge is enough to earn drivers a fine.

Governmental guidelines from 1994 recommend a minimum size for council run parking spaces of 4.8 by 2.4 metres. In correspondence with Mr Green, Berkshire traffic manager, Mark Cole, and West Berkshire Council highways and transport department head, Mark Edwards, did concede that a number of bays in the county failed to meet the minimum recommended size. However, they claim that the 14 traffic wardens working within the county are capable of using their discretion to decide if a parking bay line transgression merits a Fixed Penalty Notice or not and disagreed that signs should be installed, to warn motorists about the risk of breaching regulations in certain car parks.

Mr Cole denied that the small bay size was a deliberate move to raise parking fine revenue for the county but conceded that any new parking bays would be built to meet government guidelines. However, he confirmed that no changes would be made to the size of existing parking bays.

Mr Green insists that the current situation is scandalous as the parking infrastructure in place is not sufficient to protect motorists from overzealous parking wardens.

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