Driven from your drive

Knowledge Point




Knowledge students
at the Knowledge Point School
in Caledonian Road,
parking their bikes on private land


[B]efore reading this post I should warn you that sitting or preferably lying down might lessen the risk of injury to yourself when reaching the end of this sorry tale.

Dr. Richard Dawood is the sort of conscientious doctor we would all like to have as our own. Anxious to be able to negotiate the congested streets of north London quickly should an emergency arise, he purchased a scooter.

He could park the scooter on the tarmac forecourt adjacent to his property, but to draw attention that this land was owned by him, and therefore private property, and not part of the adjacent flagstone pavement, he affixed to his wall a notice which read:

This forecourt is private property and is not dedicated as a public footway

So far so good, indeed in 2001 when he received two parking tickets, although his scooter was parked on his own property, the chief executive of Camden Council wrote to the good doctor apologising for the error admitting the doctor’s scooter was parked on private land.

Then 2 years ago he received another ticket while parked in the same place and assumed another mistake had been made and wrote asking that the penalty be struck off.

After several letters (and more parking tickets) he was appalled to receive a reply informing him that Camden Council had reconsidered the matter and decided that his forecourt was part of the public footway, whether private or not, and would enforce the penalty notice.

When Dr. Dawood decided to take the case to a parking tribunal, the tickets were mysteriously cancelled just prior to the appeal dates. But five tickets were overlooked by the council and became the subject of a parking tribunal where the adjudicator reserved judgment, siting the case White v The City of Westminster, this test case is regularly used by councils to penalise motorists on private land, but crucially if one wheel of their vehicle is on the public pavement.

Dr. Dawood then applied for a judicial review of his case, and at this point I would earnestly advise you to hold on to something.

Lord Justice Sedley ruled:

That Dr. Dawood did own the land or rather, the subsoil marked on his deeds, but the Tarmac surface above was subject to public access, and because there was no physical barrier between the road and the Tarmac strip, parking restrictions did apply.

This ruling means in effect that unless you erect a physical barrier at the point where your drive abuts the highway it could technically be accessed by the public and therefore is now fair game for traffic wardens, and you just know that the Traffic Taliban of Camden Council will at every opportunity use this loophole to milk the motorist.

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