Kensal Rise neighbours fury as council charges water giant for their paid for parking spaces

PUBLISHED: 15:23 01 March 2019 | UPDATED: 10:38 04 March 2019

Heather Jones, Joan Pedro, Maurice O'Neill, Blandine Lamaison, Peter Williamsons protest at the parking situation on Hardinge Rd. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Heather Jones, Joan Pedro, Maurice O'Neill, Blandine Lamaison, Peter Williamsons protest at the parking situation on Hardinge Rd. Picture: Jonathan Goldberg

Jonathan Goldberg

People who have paid for annual parking permits in Kensal Rise have criticised Brent Council for removing the parking spaces in their street – and charging a water giant to occupy them instead.

Neighours in Hardinge Road woke up on Valentine’s Day to find all their parking bays suspended, with some incurring penalty notices on their cars.

Thames Water wrote to residents in December informing them that work would be taking place from January 7.

But neighbours say notices didn’t go up in the street until the day before work started more than a month later on February 14 – but council-commissioned enforcement officers were out on mopeds just hours later to catch out any car owners who hadn’t reacted quickly enough.

Thames Water said it had put signs up a week before the suspensions, but neighbours dispute this.

Heather Jones, who lives in the street, said: “We were given less than 24 hours’ notice. [...] One of my neighbours got a parking ticket at 7.35am. Two other neighbours saw enforcement officers on their mopeds just after that.”

She wrote to Cllr Muhammed Butt, leader of the council, asking for alternative parking spaces, but received a “blancmange” response saying her email would be forwarded to the roads team.

She then discovered Thames Water were paying for the bays, which the company has confirmed to this paper.

Ms Jones added: “If I had a car and I sold it to two different people it would be fraud. If Brent Council has sold access to space and that same space is now sold to someone else for a particular time, what is that if not the same thing?

“Nobody objects to work going on – what we do object to is how we are treated. The signs say ‘no parking at any time’ but the workers are only there from 8am to 4pm so why can’t we use it after that, or at the weekend? Brent could have given us access to alternative areas. If you are going to disrupt people you find solutions.”

Brent pointed out permits did not guarantee people access to a particular street or spot but rather to a parking zone, which can be several streets.

To make matters worse, the neighbours aren’t likely to be back in their regular parking spots until the end of April, as the work is scheduled to last 10 weeks.

A spokesperson for Brent Council said people with parking permits can park in other parts of the controlled parking zone when essential work is done adding: “We charge utility companies because it incentivises them to plan their work in advance and to cover the administration costs of suspending the parking bays.”

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