A van, a plan, a request, Lewisham!

A mum and baby find their way to Brockley Station blocked by vans obscuring the common

As local residents, we’ve been asking the Council to address the problem of illegally parked vans in Brockley for over year. During this time, the problem has been getting steadily worse – the number of vans is steadily increasing. Late last year, the Council told us that having investigated the complaints, they did not believe that there was any problem and suggested that we keep a record of parking problems, so that they could see for themselves what was taking place.

With your help, over the last few weeks, we have compiled a large file of photographic evidence, which we will be giving to the Council, as they suggested. There are dozens and dozens of photos like this one, which should demonstrate beyond all reasonable doubt that there is a problem that needs addressing.

The Council is currently struggling to balance its budget. At the same time, it is spending approximately £300,000 to make safety improvements to Brockley Cross. Better parking enforcement in Brockley could help the Council raise more funds while ensuring that the improvements to Brockley Cross are not wasted beneath a sea of illegally parked vehicles.

Illegally parked vans are not just detrimental to the look and feel of the area, they harm other businesses’ trade, obscure sight-lines and block pedestrian crossing points. In some cases, they force pedestrians on to the road. They are dangerous and harmful to everyone, regardless of your background. This is not a bourgeois concern.

We have two very specific requests for the Council in relation to this problem:

1. Put sustained pressure on the company responsible for parking enforcement in SE4 to take action against illegally parked vehicles in the area – particularly on Coulgate Street, Brockley Cross and Upper Brockley Road, where the problems are most acute.

2. Reconsider its decision to turn a blind eye to the fact that D&M Van Hire failed to get planning permission for its office in Brockley Cross. To speak to them and ask them to find off-street parking for their growing fleet of vehicles, or face action.

Both requests simply involve the Council enforcing its own rules, in recognition of the fact that the failure to do so is harming the area. This is not an anti-van issue – responsible legal business practices are fine – irresponsible, illegal practices are not.

We think the long-term solutions involve performance-related contracts for parking enforcement companies and the part-pedestrianisation of Coulgate Street, but those are issues we are happy to leave for another day. In the immediate future, it needs traffic wardens and planning officers to take action on behalf of local people.

Thanks again for your help, we'll let you know what response we get from the Council.

45 comments:

Anonymous said...

That area is an abject eyesore. Can't help but think that if the station building was more than a portacabin it could reach down to Coulgatte and form a centrepiece to replace very many random street-parked vans.

Brockley Nick said...

There was a brief moment after the Common was planted and before the vans moved in when this spot was perfectly nice.

Nylon Cube said...

Here's my diagram of the problem.

http://twitpic.com/4299bk

I think you'll all appreciate that i took a long time researching and developing the content for this diagram.

Brockley Kiwi said...

Nick, is that you posing for the picture: dressed in a wig pushing the pram for effect? :-)

I was a bit ambivalent when the issue was raised but have to abmit it's gone beyond a joke now.

Kerby said...

I read in the papers this morning Council's have more power to stop pavement parking, with fines of £70.All the Council need now is to get there people to enforce it,and not just turn a blind eye, like they seem to do at the moment.

BrockleyCross said...

Agree. Was fairly uninspired by the issue when first raised, but things are getting pretty ridiculous now. Driving and walking around Coulgate Street now pretty hazardous due to van litter everywhere. Thanks for taking action Nick (and bearing the wrath of the BrockleyCentral nay sayers in the process).

Brockley Nick said...

Re the slings and arrows, I think Homer said it best:

Kids, let me tell you about another so-called wicked guy. He had long hair, and some wild ideas, and he didn't always do what other people thought was right. And that man's name was...
I forget.

But the point is... I forget that too.

Marge, you know who I'm talking about! He used to drive that blue car.

disgusted said...

The dropped footway is designed for people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs or the blind to have easier access across the road. For a van to be parked across a footway wholly unacceptable.

Ed CPZ said...

The longer illegality like this goes on the worse it gets which is why some of us objected early out of principle. Our pavements have become car parks with the council's blessing.

Now that most seem to agree that there is a problem perhaps the council will do something that is well within their powers and would make rather than cost money and give us our bloody CPZ. They should of course not allow businesses to run without the correct permissions either.

This is beginning to smack of something more sinister than sheer negligence or perhaps I underestimate the council's capacity in this regard.

Mb said...

D&M seem to be doing well, at least there seem to be more D&M vans around. If they are doing well they should invest in proper facilities, all they need is an area to rent, perhaps bit of undeveloped brownfield? They shouldn't be allowed to do is undercut responsible companies by using the street to park their fleet. If the local authority does not see it's responsibility as extending to an issue like this it makes you wonder why not. Its not something the police will put at the top of their list.

Sorry for stating the obvious.

Ed CPZ said...

@Nick - Wouldn't some of the pictures make a for a quaint local interest piece for a London daily I can't bear to mention or is it rather crass in the context of the cuts?

thisisengland said...

Wow, you should work in PR...

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Have you seen their website...they do big up Brockley.

Brockley SE4 is a fabulous place to live and reside while visiting London, at D & M Self Drive Van Hire Brockley,....

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kerby said...

Wouldn't this be an ideal situation for the Council to bring in CPZ,then they could say they were doing something about it.Couldn't complain about CPZ then could we.

Ben said...

Keep up the good work
.. and the pressure on the Council. Fully support this - the vans are ridiculous. If D&M are doing well (and I hope this continues) then they should use some profit to find some business parking..

CPZ said...

Well done Nick!!

drakefell debaser said...

D&M need a large space to park their vans and Martins Yard is a large space currently used by foxes to copulate.

It seems like a match made in heaven, albeit a temporary one, if the planing permission is granted.

Brockley Nick said...

@cpz - let's see what the council says before we high five

Station user said...

We don't need a cpz around the station we just need the normal enforcement that you'd expect to see from a well run council/parking service that adheres to the Traffic Management act.

Anonymous said...

man there is alot of testosterone on here. I suggest u use it to pick up the vans and chuck them into the atmosphere. Honestly, what a fuss!

thisisengland said...

Wasn't there a comment on an earlier van thread that quoted the Highways Dept as saying that there was no legal problem with the vans parking on the street provided the business was run from an office.
Whether the office has planning permission for that type of use is another issue. I don't see how you can keep them from parking on the street, it happens all over London.
If they park illegally then of course thats again another issue.

Anonymous said...

Trouble is, they dont seem to enforce it if it is illegal.

Anonymous said...

Ridiculous numbers of vans these days. Very depressing. Hope the council listen.

Tim said...

The council will be more likely to listen if you all email your local councillor. Details on the Lewisham Council website.

CLEARSTREETS said...

Agree with Nick absolutely 100% on this issue. (I admire your tenacity.) The problem is worsening and just the other day I contacted the Parking Office to inform them of a D&M van actually parked with the majority of the vehicle sticking out into the road - incredibly dangerous. And he did it again! I can only think that this man has friends in high places. But I have a move afoot to displace him.

Tamsin said...

@ Tim Do you really think that in the years this matter has been an issue the local councillors haven't been buttonholed about it?
What Nick has been doing - and specifically on the other thread - is gathering evidence for a delegation which would include the local counc8illors to present to the relevant council department and require action. Previously, it seems, in response to repeated complaints someone from the council turns up at a time where there isn't a serious breach and reports back that there is nothing to take action on.

Anonymous said...

I think CPZ is necessary. The streets around the station, and not only those, are filling with Vans and commuters cars.

Is BXAG getting involved as well?

CLEARSTREETS said...

Tamsin... that's because the owner of these vans is being warned by someone prior to the visits. At least Nick's diary records the depths of the problem.

Lou Baker said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brockley Nick said...

@Lou - I thought you were of the "if you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear" school of thought when it comes to government.

I agree you don't want cowboy clampers, etc, but lots of areas manage to get the incentives about right.

Anonymous said...

@ Nick have you been in contact with the owner?

Brockley Nick said...

The owner of what?

Kerby said...

Lou,how many times have you seen a Traffic Warden around Brockley,most of them are in the Lewiham Centre area getting there figures up.

Anonymous said...

@ sorry nick - the owner of the vans/business. i have asked before(as have others) and never noticed a reply.

Brockley Nick said...

D&M are not the only problem, but no I haven't and I don't intend to. I think this is a matter for the Council to sort out.

I don't think ringing up saying that I am a member of the public and would like them to find off-street parking is likely to work. Another reader has already mentioned their experience, complaining about illegal parking. They were ignored.

CPZ said...

What is sad is that the owners of the van companies have realised through this campaign that they can get away with whatever the want. Lewisham Council does not care and the owners are building momentum.

Brockley Nick said...

@Ed CPZ - for the record, TIE was addressing me, not you and did not mean to cause offence.

Anonymous said...

I'm really pleased this is being raised. Every morning I push my 9 month old to nursery in Harcourt Road from Pepys Road and have to negotiate the junction of Coulgate Street with Brockley Road. This inevitably means pushing myself and baby blind into a road, possibly into a path of an on coming vehicle or having to walk along the inside of Brockley Road sharing the same space as fast moving vans, buses, trucks, motorbikes etc, just to get around the bloody irritating vans. This is really inconsiderate of D&M and very dangerous.

If anyone is planning any direct action against D&M, perhaps leafletting outside their premises or even just setting up a meeting to talk to them to raise concerns I'll be happy to help.

Tania

Ed CPZ said...

In my view the council has one last chance when (if?) they respond to Nick/BC's evidence; if they fail to resolve the issue then I am all for some legal and civilised direct action.

No Goldsmiths' miltants please, stealing the vans is not the solution!

The other Brcokley Nick said...

I agree with @Tania's point. If this doesn't work, we should do some flyer-ing / posters outside their premises, and see if we can get ACE and the other more reputable companies on our side.

Obviously I wouldn't condone any other direct action, but if others wanted to take the issue into their own hands...

Anonymous said...

I know, we could get some frying pans or stock pots and beat them with spoons and forks and stand outside their offices and chant songs like...NO IFS, NO BUTS, THESE VANS HAVE GOT TO GO!

man and van in London said...

Nice! I really enjoyed reading your post. Thanks for sharing and keep up the good work.

K Gill said...

D&M Van Hire in Brockley, whatever you do please save your moneyb and do not use the services of this company. The quality of service is utterly appalling. K

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