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.