Drivers in Barry charged £215 by council for ‘permission’ to cross pavement to get to driveways

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Drivers on several streets in Barry have been charged £215 for “permission” to drive across the pavement to get to their driveways.

Many residents of Heol Pantycelyn received a letter recently from the Vale of Glamorgan council warning them crossing the pavement without permission could be illegal.

Some said they were surprised to receive the letter as they had been driving across the pavements to park in their driveways for decades.

The council warned residents they needed an “appropriately constructed vehicular crossing” to park in their driveways and they had to apply for permission with the application alone costing £215, not taking into account the cost of the supposedly needed works.

The letter said: “It has been noted on a routine inspection that you are crossing the public highway outside your property with a motor vehicle without the benefit of an appropriately constructed vehicular crossing.

“You may or may not be aware that it is illegal to cross the footway in this manner and the council as highway authority has powers under Section 184 of the Highways Act to serve notice on persons who continue to cross over the footway in this matter.



The letter sent out by the Vale council

“However, your cooperation in this matter would obviate the necessity of taking such action. The council as highway authority can in certain circumstances undertake these works themselves and recover all such associated costs from you.

“In order to regularise this matter, permission must be sought, applied, and paid for from the council. The cost of such an application is currently £215.”

One resident sent a letter is Mike King, who has lived at Heol Pantycelyn for seven years. He said: “I can’t believe they’ve done it. It’s a big shock to us all. I’m not sure where that money is going to come from. It seems cruel.”

Mr King said hiring a contractor to do the work the council claims is needed could cost £1,000 for each household. He added the state of nearby streets and pavements have long been left in a “shambles” by the Vale council.

He said: “The letters felt aggressive, as if to say ‘you’re lucky you haven’t been fined already’. There was a really threatening edge to the letters.”



Mike King outside his home
Mike King outside his home

The letters were criticised as “heavy-handed” and “bullying” by Plaid Cymru councillor Ian Johnson, who represents the area on the Vale council. He said residents living on other nearby streets have also received the same letter.

Cllr Johnson said: “Residents are genuinely surprised that the Vale council thinks this is a priority during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Many didn’t know there was anything wrong having either installed their drive decades ago or bought their house with a driveway already there. Older residents are concerned they don’t have the money to pay for unexpected works.

“Others tell me they’ve tried contacting companies and been told they’re too busy to take on extra construction work in the timeframe the Vale are insisting upon. If the Vale thought this was a genuine problem they could have worked constructively with residents.

“Instead they’ve issued heavy-handed letters insisting on almost immediate payments and action, giving residents very little time to comply. Frankly it feels like bullying and it’s a really bad look for the council.”



Heol Pantcelyn, Barry

A Vale of Glamorgan council spokesman said: “Scheduled highway inspections have identified instances where people have been driving onto the kerb and over pavements to access their driveways.

“Under the Highways Act such a practice is not allowed unless a properly constructed dropped kerb which can support vehicles has been installed. If this is not in place pavements can sustain damage and require repairs.

“The council has asked properties that do not have properly constructed vehicular access to their driveways to pay for the necessary adaptation work. Anyone having difficulty finding the funds should contact the council to discuss the matter.

“Despite the pandemic the council is working hard to deliver across all its areas of responsibility, which includes maintaining the highway network.”



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