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Michael Holly
Michael Holly, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 6904
Experience:  I have 20 years of experience as a solicitor in litigation and other areas
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We have a large and wide hard standing outside our property

Resolved Question:

We have a large and wide hard standing outside our property which for over 50 years has been used as residents parking - it belongs to West Sussex CC. Yellow lines were implemented 15 years ago but no concerns were raised nor fines applied to the residents who continued to park on this space - until this week. We have now received 2 fines for having our vehicles on this space. There has been no formal communication nor consultation. Is there any historical precedent clause we could use to make a case against this sudden change in policy? Thanks
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Michael Holly replied 2 years ago.

There is a case which may assist which involved the National Coal Board. Local people had for many years collected coal from the beach in Northumberland. The NCB tried to stop them saying they owned the beach and the coal. However, since the activity had been occurring for many years the court decided that a right to collect coal had been established by usage and custom.

There is also a broad principle argument. Yellow lines have a purpose, which is to regulate traffic flow. A double yellow line was used only where parking was deemed dangerous or would interfere with traffic flow. A single yellow line was to assist traffic flow. This broad principle seems to have been forgotten by local authorities desperate to fleece the public of cash. I doubt it is possible to find a road in a major city without lines on it even the most out of the way cul de sac. It is now about making money and the orignal purpose forgotten. I assume that the hard standing is neither dangerous nor affects traffic flow so you can question why the lines were put there in the first place

The counter argument would be that the Council put the yellow lines there 15 years ago re establishing ownership. The fact that they chose not to enforce them but suddenly decided to does not mean that they cannot do so as during that period users were always potentially at risk of being prosecution.

I hope this helps, if there are any further points please reply.

Best wishes

Michael

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you Michael - the Northumberland case is interesting and I'll investigate for more detail. The hard standing, so long as the cars are not parked too close the kerb does not inhibit the view of the road and in fact, there has not been an accident at this junction for 50 years + To question why the yellow lines were installed in the first place is valid and equally, there are none applied in far more dangerous places along the main road. We have now received two fines which we are disputing along the lines that we did not receive any notification of the change in policy and also there is no signage or public notification that the rulings for this hard standing have changed or from when they were coming into force. Equally the car was not parked badly, did not restrict any view of the road nor impede the pavement. Can you advise if the Council should have consulted us or at least written to us formally, or if they should have put some signage or notices up to alert users of this space? Thank you

Expert:  Michael Holly replied 2 years ago.

Dear *****na

I would argue that since they have failed to enforce the lines in the previous 15 years that have given residents a realistic expectation that they would never do so or to put it another way you have been given a false sense of security. Given this, to suddenly change what has become the accepted situation after 15 years is unfair and misleading. Whilst they may argue they are technically right they are clearly, morally, in the wrong here. Rather than throw money at it, I would threaten to contact your local newspaper since they are always keen on stories to pad out the adverts and local auth

orities hate negative publicity.

Best regards

Michael

Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thanks Michael - it is certainly something I am considering but will save that for my response to their first push-back to my initial communication. Appreciate your help today.

Expert:  Michael Holly replied 2 years ago.

Dear *****na

Final thought.You could also contact a local councillor who will ask the council awkward questions on your behalf.

Best regards

Michael

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