Facebook Twitter YouTube SoundCloud RSS

Walk home? You’ll need a £16 council permit: Householders forced to pay charge to gain access through car park


  • Council also wants £122 a year to allow vehicle access
  • Homeowners would need to take out £2million of public liability insurance

Householders have been told to pay £16-a-year for a ‘pedestrian permit’ – giving them the right to walk through a council-owned car park to their homes.

Letters demanding the money also wanted a further charge of £122 a year to allow vehicle access to the rear of the houses.

Tory-run Canterbury council also said the homeowners would need to take out £2million of public liability insurance.

The council bought the land at the back of the 14 homes in Whitstable, Kent, by compulsory purchase in 1995 and it is now known as Bisson’s Car Park.

The council also said that homeowners would need to take out public liability insurance to the tune of £2million each, just in case someone had an accident.

The letter states: ‘To continue using the council’s land for gaining vehicle access to the rear of your property, I am required to offer you an annual access licence of £122 for a vehicle and £16 for a pedestrian licence, renewable on April 1.’

Local Andy Finch said he ‘couldn’t believe it’ when he read the letter – which effectively forces him and his neighbours to pay an annual fee just for using their back door.

He said: ‘I thought it was a genuine April Fools’ joke – it is an insult to everyone else who already pays their council tax.’

The letter asks the 14 homeowners to sign a 13-clause licence agreeing to its terms and conditions – including the £2m public liability insurance – but none have accepted and they have all complained to the council.

Labour councillor Phil Cartwright said: ‘I have pointed out to the chief executive that maps from the 1930s show an access route and pathway.

‘If this is so, I fail to see how the council can legally charge the owners now. If they do, what next? Toll booths on council footpaths?’

Liberal Democrat James Flanagan said: ‘This road has been free to access for at least 16 years. Residents have told me they see the demand for such a licence as extortion. They could be forgiven for thinking so.

‘At a time of economic crisis, people need money in their pockets – not a toll road in their back garden.’

Another local Denis Tweedie said: ‘The idea of having to pay £16 to walk down here – that’s Pythonesque.’

A spokesman for the council hastily apologised as soon as the complaints started flooding in and said it was ‘reviewing the situation’.

He said: ‘We are sorry residents in Cromwell Road are unhappy.

‘Our intention was to regularise existing access to the rear of their properties by granting access licences across the residents’ car park.

‘However, concerns have been expressed about the proposal so we are going to pause and take time to discuss the situation with them to allow us to find a way forward that meets the needs of all parties.

‘We will be contacting the affected residents in the near future.’



Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue
Get Your Copy of New Dawn Magazine #203 - Mar-Apr Issue
Surfshark - Winter VPN Deal