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Home: Ashford Borough Council

Ashford Borough Council Parking Enforcement Policy

Policy date: January 2015

Reviewed: January 2016

Table of Contents

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Introduction

The Parking Service in Ashford covers parking controls in the towns of Ashford, Tenterden and the surrounding areas.

The prime aim of enforcement is to achieve the following policy objectives:

  • To integrate traffic management policies with effective on-street enforcement
  • Provide dedicated on-street enforcement
  • Be responsive to changing priorities, local factors and demand
  • Provide parking exemptions or dispensations as appropriate

Parking enforcement will be 'fair but firm' and community support for or acceptance of parking controls is conditional upon achieving this balance in the enforcement operation. The guidance set out in this document has been designed to assist in this objective and establishes the "ethos" of the scheme; whilst individual areas will minimise the potential for misunderstanding and dispute over specific parking issues.

In general, enforcement activity will comply with the following principles:

  • Fairness in applying the legislation and securing compliance
  • Consistency of approach
  • Targeting of enforcement action where necessary
  • Transparency about what enforcement action is taken and why

This policy covers our approach towards both on and off-street enforcement activities. This document will be made available to the public as a clear guidance for them using the highway and car parks in the control of Ashford Borough Council. For ease of use, categories have been listed in alphabetical order.

Please note: this is a lay person’s guide to help motorists. It should not be seen as a comprehensive statement of the law or the motorist's rights.

The policies contained in this document may be subject to amendment as deemed necessary.

Ownership of this document rests with the Parking Services Team at Ashford Borough Council, who is responsible for the guidance contained within, and for review and amendment where necessary. The Parking Services Team can be contacted at parkingcustomercare@ashford.gov.uk.

Ashford Borough Council has zero tolerance of abuse of our staff.

Enforcement practice general note

Unless otherwise stated, the guidance detailed within this document applies everywhere within Ashford Borough, including on-street restrictions and off-street car parks.

Abandoned vehicles

Please refer to the council’s abandoned vehicles policy [pdf] 67KB.

Bailiffs (Enforcement Agents)

Enforcement agents vehicles are only exempt from the parking regulations where they are actively being used for the removal of goods from a property. If there is any indication that goods are to be removed, normal loading provisions will apply. An enforcement agent calling to collect on a warrant (where goods are not being removed from the premises) is not exempt.

Bank holidays

All on street waiting and loading restrictions are in force on statutory bank and public holidays and will be subject to normal enforcement activity. There may be a need for a higher on-street presence where there are special events taking place and in particular on busy days during the summer.

Breakdowns

It is recognised that vehicles do break down from time to time and have to be pushed towards the side of the road or may not start when parked in limited waiting bays etc. These can be unforeseen circumstances and as such discretion may apply. Contact the council if this happens to you.

If you receive a Penalty Charge Notice the council will require some evidence of the breakdown e.g. a breakdown report or garage receipt for repair.

Builders/Tradesmen

There are dispensations for builders/tradesmen as follows:

Waiting restrictions

Parking will only be allowed whilst loading/unloading of tools or materials are taking place. At all other times the vehicle must be parked in a permitted parking area.

An emergency is considered to last as long as it takes to make the premises safe i.e. turn off the main supply after which time any vehicle should be moved to a permitted parking place before any subsequent repairs are undertaken. If it is essential that a vehicle is parked close to where a person is working an application for a parking dispensation can be made. See Parking Dispensations Notices.

On street parking places

Trade vehicles can only park if they are loading/unloading to an adjacent property or have obtained a dispensation to park from the council's parking office.

Disabled parking places

If a person is working at a property adjacent to a disabled parking place and it is essential to park a vehicle in the disabled bay, an application for a dispensation must be made to the council’s parking office. It is however best practice to avoid using a disabled bay and find alternative parking nearby.

Bus stops

Marked bus stop clearway areas can only be used by a local bus ( i.e. a scheduled service bus) for up to two minutes in order to maintain a scheduled service or for as long as necessary to allow passengers to board/alight or for a change of crew. A local bus is not permitted to park in a bus stop for any reason other than stated above.

Any vehicle that is not a local bus parked or waiting in a bus stop area will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Due to the congestion and inconvenience caused by vehicles parked in bus stop clearways the council will enforce these areas frequently.

There is no leeway provided to any vehicle encroaching into bus stop clearways, even if part of the vehicle is parked legally.

Coaches

The council recognises that coaches may need to set down a large group of people in a safe manner. Therefore discretion will be given where this type of activity takes place. Coaches should not however park in loading-restricted areas, bus stops, pedestrian crossings, school keep clears or where it is dangerous to park.

Ashford Borough Council provides dedicated coach parking:

  • Tenterden - in Station Road Car Park and at the rear of Tenterden Leisure Centre Car Park in Recreation Ground Road
  • Ashford at the Civic/Stour Centre car park accessed via Station Road or Tannery Lane

Complaints

All complaints regarding Civil Enforcement Officers conduct must follow the standard corporate complaints procedure and be in writing. This will commence a process ensuring any complaint is handled consistently ensuring each specific point is raised with the Civil Enforcement Officer concerned.

Find out more about our formal complaints procedure.

Council and other utility vehicles

(See also the section on Statutory Undertakers)

Liveried council vehicles are exempt from parking enforcement when undertaking essential work on the highway or in the council’s public car parks.

Examples of essential works include the following:

  • Servicing street furniture
  • Maintenance of utility boxes
  • Vehicles performing environmental duties
  • Graffiti removal
  • Collection of litter
  • Parking machine maintenance

Council staff parking

Ashford Borough Council staff are provided parking permits to use in the Civic Centre car park during work time only and receive a discount on the daily parking charges.

Dental/Doctor appointments

A driver should always purchase sufficient time or take account of the maximum time period permitted when parking. A dental or medical appointment is not considered to be different from any other business a driver may be undertaking. If a Penalty Charge Notice has been issued for overstay in a parking place or car park the Penalty Charge Notice is unlikely to be waived even if evidence is provided to prove an appointment overran.

Diplomatic vehicles

Diplomatic vehicles usually display diplomatic plates, typically in the format of three numbers, followed by 'X' or 'D' and another three numbers. Penalty Charge Notices will be issued to vehicles parked in contravention and displaying diplomat plates.

Disabled bays

The council provides two types of disabled parking bays; statutory and advisory. Drivers who park in statutory disabled parking bays (marked or signed bays and covered by a Traffic Regulation Order, without correctly displaying a valid blue badge will be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (Penalty Charge Notice).

Advisory disabled bays (no sign and no Traffic Regulation Order) rely on the good will of other drivers not to park in them. These bays are usually sited in residential areas, outside the property of the disabled badge holder. Civil Enforcement Officers cannot enforce disabled parking restrictions in this type of bay.

Disabled badge holders

People with mobility problems can be issued with a blue disabled badge. A blue badge can be obtained from Kent County council, subject to application criteria. Apply online for a blue badge.

Blue badges issued by any other local authority (including other countries in Europe) are also valid.

On street, under the terms of the Blue Badge regulations, badge holders may park

  • In designated disabled parking bays.
  • In any parking place, e.g. pay and display bays, and all limited waiting bays, without time limit.
  • For up to 3 hours on a single or double yellow line with the badge correctly displayed with the serial number, expiry date showing and the clock set to show the time of arrival.

Blue badge holders may not park:

  • Where loading restrictions are in force, or in loading bays
  • On bus stops which are subject to a bus stop clearway order, or on any clearway
  • On School Keep Clear areas
  • In taxi ranks
  • In parking places the council has suspended
  • Car Parks

The Blue Badge Scheme does not apply to off street parking. However, in Ashford we offer Blue Badge holders three hours free parking in our pay and display car parks. All disabled badge holders must display their blue badge and time clock, even when parking in a disabled bay.

If your Blue Badge and/or time clock are not correctly displayed you may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Parking with a blue badge must always be in accordance with the current Department of Transport blue badge scheme guidance.

Civil Enforcement Officers have the powers to inspect the blue badge of a person who is in the vehicle or when they are returning to or leaving the vehicle. It is an offence to fail to produce the badge if a Civil Enforcement Officer asks for it.

Where a Civil Enforcement Officer suspects that a blue badge is being used fraudulently the Civil Enforcement Officer will issue a Penalty Charge Notice and/or report the matter to the authority who issued the badge.

Displaying Pay and Display tickets

Pay and Display tickets should be displayed in a conspicuous position in the vehicle so that the side of the ticket marked "This side up" is clearly visible and can be easily read by the Civil Enforcement Officer from outside of the vehicle.

Vehicles not clearly displaying pay and display tickets when in off street car parks or in on street charging areas may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Vehicles displaying expired tickets may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Double parking

Under legislation this is not only classed as two vehicles parking side by side and potentially causing congestion, but a vehicle parking more than 50cm from the edge of the carriageway, especially in turning areas and areas where the road is narrow. Parking too away from the edge of the carriageway causes difficulties/obstruction for larger vehicles, including ambulances, fire engines, buses, waste collection vehicles, etc.

Blue Badge holders are not exempt from this restriction.

Drain cleaning companies

It can be a common occurrence that when drain cleaning companies are called to premises in an emergency (such as when effluent can cause a danger to the public’s health), that pumping equipment may need to be used from such vehicles. In these circumstances these vehicles will be exempt from enforcement but only when Civil Enforcement Officers witness pumping activity taking place from the vehicle.

Drive-aways

In the event a vehicle is driven away before the Civil Enforcement Officer has the opportunity to either affix the Penalty Charge Notice to the vehicle or hand it to the driver, it is the council’s policy to issue Regulation 10 Penalty Charge Notices in such circumstances.

The council will apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency for details of ownership and send the Penalty Charge Notice in the post to the registered keeper.

Drivers in vehicles

Where a vehicle is stationary on a single or double yellow line and the driver or person who appears to be in charge of the vehicle is sitting in the vehicle, a Penalty Charge Notice may still be issued if the Civil Enforcement Officer gathers sufficient evidence of a contravention.

Dropped kerbs

Dropped kerbs (also known as 'cross overs') are where the kerb has been lowered to make a gentle ramp for pedestrians, pushchairs, wheelchairs or vehicles or the carriageway has been raised to achieve the same result. They can be across the pavement, verge or cycle track and many are indicated by tactile paving.

Dropped kerbs are there to assist those who need to cross the road safely or for vehicle access. Blocking this access causes obstruction and is a nuisance for other road users and may result in a Penalty Charge Notice.

A vehicle parked across a dropped kerb giving access to a residential property could be considered an obstruction. If this is the case, the police should be contacted.

Duplicate Penalty Charge Notices

If a vehicle remains parked in contravention of a parking regulation for a period of time exceeding 24 hours the council may issue more than one Penalty Charge Notice.

Expired permits

Residents or businesses are not given a grace period in which to renew their permit. Once a permit has expired the vehicle must be parked in accordance with the parking restrictions. Residents who provide an email address with their permit application will be notified of expiry six weeks in advance.

Fire service vehicles (Kent Fire and Rescue Services)

Fire engines and appliances are exempt from all parking restrictions whilst actively being used in an emergency situation.

Footway parking

Waiting and loading restrictions cover the relevant half of the highway (centre line to the highway boundary) and where a restriction exists on the carriageway the adjacent footway and verge are also covered by the same restriction. A Penalty Charge Notice will be issued for contravention of the restriction even if the vehicle is parked wholly behind the yellow line(s).

Parking partially or wholly on a footway or verge should not take place unless there are signs that permit it. This type of parking can damage footways and cause problems for pedestrians. Visually impaired persons are particularly inconvenienced by this behaviour and can be put at risk by having to walk around such a parked vehicle into the road.

At the present time the council does not enforce footway parking. However, the police retain powers to deal with obstruction offences where footway parking occurs and the council will keep this matter under review.

Funerals and weddings

The council recognises that weddings and funerals are important events and are sensitive issues. Visitors to either event should park legally, away from the event. However, essential vehicles and close family may need to park quite centrally or near the premises being used for the occasion.

There is no automatic exemption for funeral or wedding vehicles. However, Civil Enforcement Officers should exercise discretion where it is clear that a funeral or wedding is taking place and should be prepared to give advice where necessary on the best parking arrangements.

If it is obvious that the vehicles are involved with this type of activity then they should not be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice. Normally this is only the hearse or the bridal vehicle.

Glaziers

For safety reasons, and the transportation of glass, glazier’s vehicles will often need to be parked close to the premises on which they are working.

In cases where glazier's vehicles are parked adjacent to the premises, Civil Enforcement Officers will observe if the glass is of a size, which would warrant adjacent parking (e.g. shop window). Glaziers will be exempt from the regulations in these cases. Otherwise, the vehicle should be parked legally or display a valid dispensation issued by the council.

Grace periods

Grace periods are different from observation periods, in that they serve a different purpose; primarily one of offering fairness in enforcement activity. Grace periods apply to paid for and to free parking bays both on-street and off-street in council owned car parks. A ten-minute grace period is given.

Health care/Emergency service employees

Emergency and Community First Responders have a dispensation to park on a yellow line no-waiting parking restriction, on street when attending an emergency on behalf of and at the request of SECAMB (South East Coast Ambulance Service).

East Kent Early Intervention in Psychosis Service, Kent and Medway NHS and Social Care Partnership Trust working in Ashford Borough Council’s area have a dispensation to park free of charge in on street pay and display parking bays, but are not exempt from any other parking restriction.

Hire agreement

In the case of a hired vehicle, responsibility for a Penalty Charge Notice is that of the hirer of the vehicle at the time and not with the registered keeper provided the hire agreement contains a statement regarding the hire’s liability for any Penalty Charge Notices incurred during the hire period. Consequently, in this case, the responsibility does not rest with the registered owner, the Hire Company, providing they make formal representation to the council once the Notice to Owner is received. The representation must be accompanied by a copy of the relevant hire agreement.

In all cases this agreement must clearly state: The name and address of the hirer, the start and finish dates for the hire period and the hirer’s signature. It must also include a statement regarding the hirer’s liability for any Penalty Charge Notices incurred during the hire period. Should any of the foregoing be unclear, absent or in contradiction of the date/time of issue of the Penalty Charge Notice then the Penalty Charge Notice will be enforced against the Hire Company and a notice of rejection of the representation sent to them with the reasons clearly stated therein.

Hours of enforcement

Enforcement of parking restrictions will be carried out when the restrictions apply.

Lighting engineers

Kent County council approved Lighting Contractors for on street lighting and off street car parks are exempt from parking restrictions when working at or adjacent to a lighting column. An engineer must be seen to be present with signage and activity must be taking place to prevent a Penalty Charge Notice being issued to the accompanying vehicle. If a Civil Enforcement Officer sees no activity then the restriction will be enforced in the normal way.

Limited waiting bays

There are a number of limited waiting bays in the Ashford area. These provide for varied waiting times and for a no-return which varies according to the location. No-return means, once you have re-joined your vehicle and left the parking area you are not allowed to return and re-park your vehicle in that parking area inside the time specified.

Penalty Charge Notices may be issued to vehicles parked for longer than the maximum period permitted and for returning within the no return period.

Lines and Signs

Where a restriction should be signed, and the sign is missing, a Penalty Charge Notice should not be issued. The Civil Enforcement Officer must report the defect through their handheld device for remedial action to be taken.

Regulatory signs accompanying waiting and loading restrictions must be clearly visible at all times. If it is claimed that a sign was obscured and could not be read (e.g. graffiti or overhanging vegetation) the sign will be inspected as soon as practicable and, if necessary, remedial action taken. If the claim is proved to be correct the Penalty Charge Notice may be cancelled. Alternatively, if the sign can be easily read then the Penalty Charge Notice will not be cancelled.

If a line on the highway is substantially obscured or missing, a Penalty Charge Notice should not be issued. The Civil Enforcement Officer must report the defect through their handheld device for remedial action to be taken.

Where the lines can be clearly seen, even though they may be partially worn or if there are small lengths of yellow lines missing (less than the length of a small car), the Civil Enforcement Officer should issue a Penalty Charge Notice, and report the defective section.

If a restriction has been marked after the vehicle had parked a Penalty Charge Notice may be cancelled if records confirm that signing/lining/placement of cones or suspension notices are likely to have taken place after the vehicle was parked.

Loading/Unloading Guidelines

Any vehicle can load or unload continuously in places where such activity is permitted.

Civil Enforcement Officers will observe vehicles to ascertain if vehicles are indeed loading/unloading. If during this time no activity is noted, the Civil Enforcement Officer will assume the vehicle is not involved in any loading/unloading activity and the restriction may be enforced. Loading/unloading may be allowed for commercial purposes or if the items being loaded or unloaded are not easily portable. The process does have to be continuous and the Civil Enforcement Officer must see some evidence of loading/unloading.

Loading and unloading is permitted:

  • In permit holder bays
  • On single or double yellow lines
  • In loading bays
  • In on-street pay and display bays

Loading and unloading is not permitted:

  • At bus stops that are subject to Bus stop clearway restrictions, taxi ranks, on clearways where stopping is prohibited, in doctor/hospital/ambulance bays
  • Where kerb markings indicate no stopping or parking restrictions
  • On school zigzag markings
  • In suspended bays

Lost keys

If car keys have been lost, stolen or locked in a vehicle preventing the removal of the vehicle from a parking area which in turn resulted in the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice, then due consideration may be given to its cancellation. Any representation made should be accompanied by any supporting evidence from the police, a motoring organisation or relatives.

Mitigating circumstances

Each case will be treated on its individual merits and particular circumstances. However, here are a few guidelines:

Delays

Delays due to queues at shops/banks etc., meetings, dental or medical appointments taking longer than expected, being caught up in crowds etc., are not considered as valid reasons to cancel a Penalty Charge Notice. Allowance should be made for such delays when purchasing parking time as they are a regular occurrence and part of normal life.

Emergencies

An emergency is an unforeseen situation that prevented the driver from moving his/her vehicle. They are usually of a medical nature and leniency may be exercised where it can be seen that the driver could not have foreseen the situation. All such claims should be supported by independent evidence.

Mobile phones

Answering a phone is not a permitted excuse for parking on yellow lines or within parking places without payment and a Penalty Charge Notice will not be cancelled.

Motorcycle parking

Ashford Borough Council bays are for solo motorcycles only.

On-street

Where dedicated motorcycle parking bays are provided on street marked on the road and by signs with the motorcycle symbol, parking is free for motorcycles. Otherwise motorcycles parked outside these areas must follow the same terms and conditions as other motor vehicles and park in a marked pay and display bay, and the rider must purchase a ticket for the duration of the stay.

Car parks

Parking for motorcycles is free in council run car parks, provided it is within the designated area marked as motorcycles only. It will be a contravention for other vehicles (including quad bikes) to park in these bays

Please refer to the section on quad bikes for information regarding enforcement of this vehicle type.

Obscured/Incorrectly validated permits

If a parking permit is not clearly displayed in a vehicle, so that it cannot be read, a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued.

Where a day permit has been incorrectly validated, more than one day/date/month field has been scratched off, no date has been entered, it is without today’s date or the vehicle number has been altered or entered incorrectly a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued.

If the alteration or error is minor (e.g. one digit or letter of the vehicle is shown incorrectly or has been altered), or where only part of a day/date or month has been scratched off, a Penalty Charge Notice should not be issued.

Observation periods

When a vehicle is parked in contravention of the regulations, and depending upon the type of restriction, the Civil Enforcement Officer may observe the vehicle for a time before issuing a Penalty Charge Notice.

An observation period is primarily designed to ensure that the vehicle is not engaged in an exempt activity, such as loading/unloading.

Observation periods are not a statutory requirement and Civil Enforcement Officers reserve the right to issue Penalty Charge Notices instantly if appropriate. Many types of restrictions do not carry any observation periods, for example: Bus Stops, Pedestrian Crossings, School Keep Clear markings Loading Bans, Taxi Ranks etc.

Overseas registered vehicles

A Penalty Charge Notice will always be issued to a vehicle displaying foreign registration plates parked in contravention of a restriction. If the Penalty Charge Notice remains unpaid a debt collection company will be employed to collect the debt.

Parking charges: changes

When the council proposes to make a change to the parking charges notices will be displayed at the car park or parking place before the change is due to take place. A Penalty Charge Notice issued for non-payment of the correct charge will not be cancelled. A driver must always consult the tariff board before buying parking time.

Parking Dispensations Notices

Parking dispensations are issued at the council’s discretion. All applications are carefully considered on an individual basis. The council will charge an administration fee for the issue of a parking dispensation. See separate policy and application form available at Parking.

Parking Outside Bay Markings

A Penalty Charge Notice may be issued where a motorist has parked with one or more wheels outside of a marked parking bay.

Hatched markings or KEEP CLEAR markings in a car park indicate the area where parking is not permitted. Any parking in these areas will be classed as parking outside of a marked bay and a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued.

Pay and Display Ticket machine: Did not see or realise payment required or went for change

As a driver you must be aware of the parking conditions. This includes ensuring you obey the lining and signing of restrictions and whether or not payment is required. A 'P' on a blue background on the street signs will indicate that payment is due. Information boards within car parks will indicate when and what payment is required. No allowance will be made for an excuse of not knowing payment was due. Motorists are not allowed time to go and get change to pay for their parking time.

Pay and Display Ticket machine: Faults

If a pay and display ticket machine is found to be faulty it is the driver’s responsibility to look (within a reasonable distance) for an alternative machine from which to purchase a pay and display ticket, providing that the alternative machine is situated in the same road or car park.

In the event that the Pay and Display ticket machine is marked as 'out of order’ an' there are no alternative payment points, a vehicle will be allowed to park for the maximum parking duration of the bay or car park.

Where a motorist leaves a note in his vehicle stating that the machine is faulty, or reports it personally to a Civil Enforcement Officer or the council directly, the Civil Enforcement Officer must check the machine. A Penalty Charge Notice should be issued, unless the Civil Enforcement Officer can confirm that the machine is faulty and there is no alternative machine in the same road or car park.

Pay and Display tickets

Most council’s car parks and some on street parking places operate as pay and display. Pay and display requires the purchase of a ticket at the time of parking for the amount of time required and this ticket must be clearly displayed on the inside windscreen/driver’s window of the vehicle. All tickets have the date, amount paid, expiry time and the ticket machine number printed on them. In car parks the charges are clearly displayed on boards adjacent to each ticket machine and for on street parking places the charges are displayed on the ticket machine.

Pay and Display Tickets must be clearly displayed so that all the printed information is visible from outside of the vehicle valid on the day the ticket is displayed cover the whole time the vehicle is parked for the car park or parking place indicated

Penalty Charge Notices will be issued for:

  • Failing to correctly display a valid ticket
  • Displaying a ticket that has expired

Representations made because the driver failed to correctly display a valid ticket even though one was held will be considered but may not be allowed as it is incumbent upon the driver to ensure that their ticket is clearly displayed throughout the time that the vehicle is parked.

Pay by phone

Motorists are able to pay for parking using a mobile phone instead of buying a ticket from a ticket machine. Details of how to register to use this service are shown on notices attached to ticket machines. Once you have paid by phone the Civil Enforcement Officer’s handheld equipment will show that payment has been made. The Civil Enforcement Officer can then check if a phone payment has been made if a ticket is not displayed on the vehicle. This information is also updated if you extend your time by a further payment by phone.

A vehicle must not remain in a pay and display parking place unless payment has been made to cover the whole time the vehicle is parked.

Pedestrian crossings

These are official crossing points such as Pelican or Zebra crossings marked by white zig-zags on the road. It is an offence for a vehicle to be left on such a zigzag for any period of time and therefore a Penalty Charge Notice should always be issued in these circumstances.

Picking up/Dropping off passengers

Motorists may stop to pick up or drop off passengers on any parking restriction, with the exception of bus stops, school keep clear markings, pedestrian crossing and taxi ranks, provided they do not cause an undue obstruction to traffic flow. As long as the Civil Enforcement Officer witnesses dropping off or picking up activities a Penalty Charge Notice will not be issued. After an observed period of inactivity a Penalty Charge Notice will be issued. (Taxis can pick up and drop off on bus stop clearways but only Ashford Borough Council Hackney Carriages)

Photographs

Taking photographs is a part of the enforcement process and Civil Enforcement Officers will take photos of the vehicle in contravention, the windscreen, parking restriction signs and lines. They will always endeavour to avoid taking photographs of children if they are inside the vehicle when the enforcement takes place. Photos can improve the speed and quality of judgements made on receipt of a representation.

Police vehicles

Kent Police response vehicles are exempt from all parking restrictions whilst actively being used in an emergency situation.

Non-liveried Kent Police vehicles are not exempt from on street parking restrictions.

If a Police Officer approaches a Civil Enforcement Officer presenting their warrant card/ID requesting a vehicle not to be enforced then this request should be complied with.

If a Police Officer requests enforcement of a vehicle and the Civil Enforcement Officer is also satisfied that a contravention has occurred the Civil Enforcement Officer may issue a Penalty Charge Notice.

Property moves

Residents moving property from one location to another can apply for a dispensation for the vehicles involved. The council should be advised of this in advance and there will be a charge for this.

Quad bikes

In off street car parks they are classed as similar to a car (due to their size) and not a motor cycle. Therefore they cannot use the motor cycle bays and should pay the parking charge.

In on street pay and display parking bays the normal charges apply.

Requests for enforcement

From time to time, the council or individual Civil Enforcement Officers may be approached by members of the public requesting enforcement of a particular restriction.

Where a Civil Enforcement Officer is approached whilst he is patrolling an area, providing that the request relates to a neighbouring road or the same road and will not involve them leaving their allocated beat, the Civil Enforcement Officer should investigate and if correct may comply with the request. If the request will mean that the Civil Enforcement Officer will have to travel a considerable distance or leave their beat, then they should relay the request to base, for further instruction. The council aims to respond to all requests for enforcement within normal working hours.

Royal Mail vehicles

Vehicles belonging to the Royal Mail engaged in the collecting or delivering postal packets are exempted and may load or unload where others are not permitted. This does not include School Keep Clear markings and disabled parking bays. As Parcelforce is operated as a separate company from the Royal Mail these vehicles will be treated like any other courier company.

Civil Enforcement Officers may issue Penalty Charge Notices to Royal Mail vehicles if the vehicle is not being used for the purpose of collecting or delivering mail.

Scaffolders

Scaffolders are provided a dispensation from parking restrictions where scaffolding is being constructed, i.e. whilst loading and unloading equipment from the vehicle and erecting/dismantling the scaffold. As soon as this loading/unloading activity has been completed the scaffold truck must be moved to a legal parking place.

Scaffolders may need to apply to Kent County council for a licence if the scaffolding is likely to encroach onto the public highway.

Permits and licences are available from Kent County council.

Scaffolders are required to obtain a dispensation if they require their vehicle to remain in situ after the loading/unloading has taken place.

School

Illegal parking near schools is dangerous and the council actively patrols schools and moves on such vehicles on a regular basis. This can often be parents waiting on parking restrictions for children to finish school or dropping off children where stopping is not permitted i.e. School Keep clear markings. In partnership with the Police and the Kent county council Road Safety Team the council tries to minimise illegal parking and patrol schools on a regular basis.

Parents are not exempt from parking restrictions and vehicles will be enforced if they fail to move or the vehicle drive away process would also apply in these circumstances.

The yellow School Keep clear markings including the zigzags are placed outside schools for the safety of children. It is an offence to stop on the zigzag area. As such, there will be no period of observation before the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice to any vehicle that is stationary on the School Keep clear markings outside of a school.

Skip licences

A skip licence is needed if a skip is to be placed on the public highway. Licenses are available from Kent County council.

Special events

Where there are special events taking place which may affect the parking situation in the area, the council and/or the Police may make special arrangements – the Civil Enforcement Officers will be advised accordingly.

If you are planning any special events please contact us as early as possible. Email parkingcustomercare@ashford.gov.uk

Statutory undertakers

There is an exemption for vehicles being used in the service of gas, electricity, telecommunications or water companies. These vehicles will not be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice in the following circumstances:

  • If the vehicle is being used in direct connection with works on the highway and appropriate signage is in place. See chapter 8 of the Traffic Signs Manual (Traffic Safety Measures and Signs for Road Works and Temporary Situations).
  • Whilst carrying out statutory undertakings such as laying, erecting or repair of sewers, pipes, or apparatus for the supply of water, gas, electricity or telecommunications, if the vehicle cannot be conveniently used for such a purpose if parked in another road/place
  • If the vehicle is being used in connection with an emergency situation (water leak, gas escape etc. generally on private premises) and the council is unaware of the emergency then a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued

Penalty Charge Notices can be challenged and the council will consider any supporting evidence.

Civil Enforcement Officers will also issue a Penalty Charge Notice where it is obvious that the vehicle is not being used in connection with work taking place on the highway.

Statutory undertaker’s vehicles often display signs stating that emergency works are being undertaken. This is not in itself an indication that the vehicle is exempt as it must be placed behind appropriate signage. If the Civil Enforcement Officer is not satisfied that the vehicle is exempt a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.

Stolen vehicle

Liability will depend on whether the vehicle was stolen or taken without authority (also see Unauthorised use of a vehicle).

Claims that the vehicle was stolen at the time the Penalty Charge Notice was issued need to be substantiated by confirmation from the police that the vehicle was reported stolen at the time the Penalty Charge Notice was issued. Such confirmation will be a valid crime report. If the vehicle was classed as stolen then the Penalty Charge Notice may be cancelled.

Suspension of parking places

The council may suspend the use of all or any part of a parking place whenever it considers such suspension to be reasonably necessary:

  • To secure the expeditious, convenient or safe movement of traffic
  • For the purposes of the council or any statutory undertaker carrying out its duties in the highway or building works being carried out at adjacent properties
  • On any occasion on which it is likely by reason of some special event that the street is likely to be crowded or obstructed
  • For such other purpose as the council may consider to be reasonable necessary to ensure public safety

The council may vary or revoke such suspension at any time. The suspension will be either signed or the area will be physically closed by the use of cones.

Residents or businesses may apply for sections of the parking bays adjacent to their property to be suspended for moving in and out or other essential events. Suspensions may be arranged for several purposes, see our Policy for the suspension of parking bays.

Applications for bay suspensions are handled by the council’s parking officers who will also determine what proof is to be submitted. The applicant should request a suspension at least ten days in advance providing the exact location within the parking bay. House numbers, if relevant, should be included.

Apply for a parking bay suspension.

However, suspensions may also need to be arranged at short notice, for example in the case of emergency works.

Vehicles which park on the notified suspensions may be issued with a Penalty Charge Notice.

Tax discs (vehicle excise duty out of date, incorrect, no tax disc)

From 1 October 2014, vehicles are no longer required to display a tax disc.

Taxis and private hire vehicles

There is a difference between taxis and private hire vehicles. Taxis are licensed by the Local Authority and are permitted to ply for hire in the street. They may be black cabs (Hackney carriages) or saloon cars or people carriers.

Private hire vehicles are also licensed, but they are not allowed to ply for hire or to display a 'taxi' sign. They can only handle pre-arranged pick-ups.

Taxis and private hire vehicles may stop to allow passengers to board or alight for as long as necessary for the purpose. This should be obvious to the Civil Enforcement Officer. Taxis cannot wait to collect fairs on areas with parking restrictions.

Taxi drivers, like any other driver, must not leave their vehicle parked illegally to visit toilets, shops, cafes etc. even if the vehicle has been left on a taxi rank. Taxi drivers are only permitted to ‘wait’ on a taxi rank if they remain with their vehicle. If a vehicle is left unattended a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.

Traffic Regulation Order: Invalid

The council will carefully consider any representation made against the issue of a Penalty Charge Notice if it is claimed that the traffic regulation order which describes the restriction that the vehicle was parked in contravention of was legally flawed. A Penalty Charge Notice will only be cancelled if it is proved that there is a discrepancy in the traffic regulation order.

Traffic signal engineers

When traffic signals fail to operate it is necessary that the Kent County council employs a contractor to service and repair the signals. As a result it is necessary for the engineer to park adjacent to the traffic signals, often in areas where there are Traffic Regulation Orders in place.

In these circumstances the engineers will display an approved sign and be exempt from enforcement only at these locations and only when on duty.

Travellers

It is possible that there will be unauthorised encampments by travellers in car parks or in some on street locations from time to time. The council will actively ensure such unauthorised encampments are moved on using the correct legislation and national guidelines. During this process the council will reserve its right to enforce traveller vehicles based on the individual circumstances at the time.

Unauthorised use of a vehicle

A claim that the vehicle had been used in an unauthorised way by another family member or a friend is difficult to substantiate and the Penalty Charge Notice will be enforced unless it can be demonstrated that the matter was reported to the police prior to or just after the issue of the Penalty Charge Notice and the taking of the vehicle has been classed as a crime.

Visitor permits

These are one day permits issued to residents in controlled parking zones for their visitors. A permit is only valid if fully completed and clearly displayed in the vehicle and on the date for which it has been validated.

Weddings

The same enforcement principles as for funerals will apply. See funerals.

Window cleaners

The council recognises that window cleaners are carrying out an essential service for businesses in the area. However they must not park in contravention to the restrictions in situ. There is also no concession for window cleaners cleaning residential properties although they (like any visitor) may display a visitor permit provided by the resident or pay to park.

Where a window cleaner needs constant access to their vehicle where pumping of water occurs from the vehicle, this is to be classed as loading/unloading and the normal restrictions related to this activity are to apply. Where a window cleaner does not operate this system then their vehicles will be enforced in the normal way.

Glossary

Primary Legislation and Regulations:

The Act - The Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 - is an Act of Parliament, which provides powers to regulate or restrict traffic on UK roads, in the interest of safety.

2004 Act - The Traffic Management Act 2004 - is an Act of Parliament that allows councils in England (outside London) and Wales to enforce parking contraventions.

TSRGD 2016 - The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016 - Prescribes the designs and conditions of use for traffic signs to be lawfully placed on or near roads in England, Scotland and Wales.

General Regulations 2007 - The Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) General Regulations 2007 - Statutory instruments designed to implement Part 6 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 in relation to the civil enforcement of parking controls by civil enforcement officers acting on behalf of local authorities

Definitions

Enforcement Agents (Bailiffs)

Certified enforcement agents, as agents of the court, are court officers. Of the many functions they perform, executing warrants is one that is likely to concern us most. These are court orders for the seizure and selling of goods of sufficient value to cover the outstanding amount plus the cost of executing the warrant.

Bus

A passenger motor vehicles constructed or adapted to carry passengers; and local buses not so constructed or adapted in regulation 22 (2) of the "TSRGD 2002".

Bus stop/Clearway

Any markings placed on the carriageway, as specified under regulation 29 (1) of the "TSRGD 2002" conveying the existence of a ‘bus stop/clearway’ as defined by Part 1 of schedule 19 of the "TSRGD 2002".

Carriageway

A way (other than a cycle track), being a highway or part of a highway, over which the public have a right of way for the passage of vehicles.

Civil enforcement

Control of parking and moving-traffic (bus-lane) contraventions by an enforcement authority under the “2004 Act”.

Civil Enforcement Officer

A uniformed officer employed by or on behalf of a council to issue penalty charge notices for parking contraventions under a civil enforcement scheme.

Coach

Any motor vehicle which is constructed or adapted to carry nine or more passengers in addition to the driver and is not being used for the provision of a local service as defined by Section 2 of the Transport Act 1985.

Contravention

A motorist's failure to comply with parking or bus lane regulations.

Cycle track

A path or road for bicycles and not motor vehicles.

Disabled person's blue badge

A Blue Badge is a card that entitles people with certain disabilities to a range of parking concessions. In order to be eligible for a Blue Badge, it is necessary to satisfy criteria laid down in the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000 (SI 2000/682).

Driver

In relation to a vehicle, means the person driving or having control or charge of a vehicle, or the person having driven or having had control of a vehicle.

Footway/Pavement

A hard-surfaced path for pedestrians alongside generally a little higher than a road

Highway

Any length of road to which the public has access, including any adjacent footway, verge or bridge over which a road passes.

Highways Agency

The Highways Agency is an Executive Agency of the Department for Transport, and is responsible for operating, maintaining and improving the strategic road network in England on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport.

Motor vehicle (motor car, motorcycle and invalid carriage)

This has the same meaning as in section 136 of "the Act".

In this Act "motor car" means a mechanically propelled vehicle, not being a motor cycle or an invalid carriage, which is constructed itself to carry a load or passengers and of which the weight unladen:

(a) if it is constructed solely for the carriage of passengers and their effects, is adapted to carry not more than 7 passengers exclusive of the driver, and is fitted with tyres of such type as may be specified in regulations made by the Secretary of State, does not exceed 3050 kilograms;

(b) if it is constructed or adapted for use for the conveyance of goods or burden of any description, does not exceed 3050 kilograms (or 3500 kilograms if the vehicle carries a container or containers for holding, for the purposes of its propulsion, any fuel which is wholly gaseous at 17·5 degrees Celsius under a pressure of 1·013 bar or plant and materials for producing such fuel); or

(c) in a case falling within neither of the foregoing paragraphs, does not exceed 2540 kilograms.

In this Act (except for the purposes of [F1sections 57 and 63]) "motor cycle" means a mechanically propelled vehicle (not being an invalid carriage) with fewer than 4 wheels, of which the weight unladen does not exceed 410 kilograms.

(5) in this Act "invalid carriage" means a mechanically propelled vehicle of which the weight unladen does not exceed 254 kilograms and which is specially designed and constructed, and not merely adapted, for the use of a person suffering from some physical default or disability and is used solely by such a person.

Penalty charge

The amount of money set by law as a penalty. Penalty Charge has the same meaning as in section 2 of the "General Regulations 2007".

Penalty Charge Notice

A notice issued by a council to a motorist appearing to be in charge of a vehicle that the council believe was contravening its traffic regulation order. The notice must include a description of the alleged contravention. Penalty Charge Notice has the same meaning as in section 8 of the "General Regulations 2007".

Traffic Regulation Order (a bylaw regulation)

An official order made by a council under"“the Act" that details the nature and extent of parking controls in its area. A contravention of these controls as detailed in a Traffic Regulation Order may lead to a penalty charge notice being issued.

Verge

Any part of a road which is not a carriageway.

Note: Questions marked by * are mandatory