Drivers fight Tower Hamlets for years over 'clamping on private land'

Cul-de-sac off Buxton Street where land-owner says Tower Hamlets Council wrongly painted yellow lines.

Cul-de-sac off Buxton Street where land-owner says Tower Hamlets Council wrongly painted yellow lines. - Credit: Mike Brooke

Drivers battling to get double yellow lines removed from private Spitalfields land for 14 years have successfully forced Tower Hamlets Council to unclamp a car.

The conflict centres around a cobbled cul-de-sac off Buxton Street, which is not part of the highway but where the council wrongly painted yellow lines more than 20 years ago.

Land-owner David Spurring has a highways planning notice dated January 11, 2007, seen by this paper, confirming: “Shuttle Street is not highway maintainable at public expense. It was closed as a public highway on March 2, 1995.” 

Clamped car behind the private chain barrier off Buxton Street.

Clamped car behind the private chain barrier off Buxton Street. - Credit: Mike Brooke

Now - with help from this newspaper - the local authority has unclamped Charlie Dunlop's off-road Freelander car, which had been immobilised since 8am on June 4.  

“This land is not part of the highway,” the 49-year-old projects manager told the East London Advertiser. “My car is on private property. “The old yellow lines have never been repainted like those in Buxton Street — so the council knows it’s private land.” 

Latest Tower Hamlets Council clamp on car parked on driveway.  

Latest Tower Hamlets Council clamp on car parked on driveway. - Credit: Mike Brooke


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But a jubilant Charlie sent the paper a message this week: "The council has finally acknowledged the error, removed the clamp and cancelled the parking charge notices.

"I suspect your email (to the council) had a role to play in getting some action — so many thanks for that."

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Leaseholders living in the former converted St Patrick’s School use the alley on their property, formerly known as Shuttle Street, as a private driveway — but have kept getting penalty tickets since 2007.

They each have to be cancelled after lengthy paperwork. 

Wheel-clamped... Charlie's Freelander off-road car.

Wheel-clamped... Charlie's Freelander off-road car. - Credit: Mike Brooke

The trouble started when the double yellow lines were painted up and down the single-track alley when Tower Hamlets Council brought in tough parking restrictions around the corner in Buxton Street.

Swamped... paperwork land-owner David Spurring faces dealing with Tower Hamlets Council going back 14 years

Swamped... paperwork land-owner David Spurring faces dealing with Tower Hamlets Council going back 14 years - Credit: Mike Brooke

That’s when Allen Gardens green space was opened and the through-route became a dead end.

Document from Tower Hamlets Council in 2007 stating Shuttle Street isn't on the public highway.

Document from Tower Hamlets Council in 2007 stating Shuttle Street isn't on the public highway. - Credit: Mike Brooke

Artist David said: “The council just blundered round the corner many years ago painting yellow lines right up to the end of the alley and back down again. It's clearly private land, but I’ve had a tremendous battle for 14 years and used to get penalty tickets every day, which I had to get cancelled.” 

There are no front doors along the alley, just two brick walls on either side.

The Advertiser made detailed enquiries to Tower Hamlets on June 7 and 9, which have been acknowledged three times concerning the issue — but has not yet received a response.

This is the end! double-yellow lines land-owner says was wrongly painted up and down on his driveway.

This is the end! Double yellow lines land-owner says was wrongly painted up and down on his driveway. - Credit: Mike Brooke


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