Tower Hamlets council paints out residents’ parking bay while they’re asleep

Ken Hilton, Jo Green and Julie Sammut with the repainted parking bay

Ken Hilton, Jo Green and Julie Sammut with the repainted parking bay - Credit: Archant

Retired banker Ken Hilton and his neighbours found the goalposts had shifted after parking their cars overnight in the residents’ bay outside their homes in London’s East End.

Outline of bay can still be seen after being blacked out while drivers were away

Outline of bay can still be seen after being blacked out while drivers were away - Credit: Reader Ken Hilton

One minute the cars were neatly lined up along the kerb inside the white line in Wills Street next to Poplar’s Brownfield Estate.

Next minute, Ken is woken by a knock on his door from the man next door saying he’d have to shift his VW “pronto” because he was about to get a ticket.

“Council workers had just painted out the white lines,” he fumed. “I had to rush out and move my car.

“Three of us suddenly found our cars were now outside the white line.”


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One car ended up half-in and half-out of the new, shrunken bay.

So Ken wrote to Tower Hamlets’ Mayor Lutfur Rahman complaining, after checking with the Department of Transport and being told the local authority was required by law to post notices before any parking regulations could change.

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“No prior warning was given,” Ken wrote. “One minute we were legally parked, the next we were subject prosecution.

“This raises the question of whether Tower Hamlets has left the UK and declared independence!”

He asked the independent mayor if “disregarding the law is to be the new policy of your council”.

But it turns out that Willis Street is partially public and partially private estate land, according to the Mayor’s Office. The boundary is where the new marking ends.

The bay should have been reduced in 2006, the Mayor’s spokesman insisted.

“That’s when the land was adopted by the housing association,” the spokesman added. “So the Traffic Management Order needed to be revoked as the bay was partly on private land.”

The council later promised to put letters up on lamp-posts to let everyone know.

But that’s no comfort to Ken and his neighbours who suddenly can’t park outside their homes. The bay for seven cars, or eight at a pinch, has been reduced with room for only two-and-a-half.

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