Are height barriers at your local car park actually illegal?
It’s time to take on councils to stop them keeping motorhomes out of car parks, says campaigner. If you’ve ever tried to park your motorhome in a council-run public car park only to be frustrated by height barriers or locked gates, then the latest campaign by Andy Strangeway on behalf of motorhome owners’ rights may be for you.
Council-run public car parks are legislated through an Off Street Parking Order, which sets out the rules and conditions of use. Anything that is not covered in the Order cannot therefore be legally excluded from the car park, says Andy.
The classic example of this is a car park that is specified to be open 24 hours a day, every day of the year, but has a locked barrier at night. This is illegal, argues Andy.
Also, if the Off Street Parking Order does not expressly say that there is a height restriction on entry, then the campaigner also says it is illegal for the council to put one in there.
Project Get Involved is the campaign to take on restrictive councils and Andy is asking for your help.
To take part, first identify a council car park with a height barrier.
Email the council in question to request a copy of the Off Street Parking Order that relates to the car park. Reference the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) as the basis for requesting this information. The FOIA gives you the right to access recorded information held by public sector organisations. The council is obliged to respond within 20 days, or tell you when to expect the information if they require more time. Most FOIA requests are free but you may be asked for a small contribution to photocopying or postage.
If the council doesn’t reply, send a reminder with a deadline on it and if they refuse the request, firstly ask them to review the decision. If they are still unhelpful you can complain to the Information Commissioner’s Office.
Once a copy of the Off Street Parking Order has arrived, you can look through it to see if there are specific exclusions or restrictions listed.
If they are not, then it is possible the council has acted illegally and the next stage is to request that the obstructions are removed.
Andy is happy to help with any part of the process and co-ordinate the effort, so cc him on your emails at [email protected]
It is estimated that the number of car parks with illegal restrictions could run into the hundreds.
It’s only with the help of motorhomers that they can be opened up to motorhome owners once again.
For further information please visit Andy Strangeway’s overnight parking campaign page.