A Brighton woman who claims the council failed to tell her that her home was in a car free development when she bought it has failed in her bid to be given a parking permit.
The woman, referred to in a report from the local ombudsman as Ms C, put an offer in on the flat and carried out land searches in the summer of 2006, before the council’s records were updated to show it had been designated car free.
The condition had been placed on the house in Upper North Street, when Brighton and Hove City Council granted permission for its conversion into three flats the previous year. Upper North Street falls within parking zone Z.
The delay came about as the developer asked for the condition, which also required a contribution of £6,000 to the council’s sustainable transport strategy, to be lifted, and then failed to pay the contribution until late 2006, after which the land charge records were updated in January 2007.
However, even after this, in spring 2007, the council’s parking services reassured Ms C that there were no restrictions and so she went ahead and completed the sale in April 2007.
The following year, the council updated its traffic regulations which included registering her home as car-free. It was only in 2010 that the council wrote to her to tell her of the changes.
Since then, council officers agreed by phone to give Ms C a dispensation so she could continue to get a permit – but a change in management in parking services last year led to her most recent application being refused.
Ms C complained first to the council and then to the ombudsman – but because the majority of her complaint referred to actions taken before 2017, the ombudsman said it would not investigate that part.
And they found that the council had not been at fault in how it had acted from 2017 onwards, and so did not uphold Ms C’s complaint.
The report said: “Ms C knew in 2010 that the council considered that she was not entitled to a parking permit.
“Although Ms C has explained that she was put to time and trouble each year to obtain a permit, she did not complain to the ombudsman until November 2017.
“I consider that it would have been reasonable for her to have complained about these earlier events before November 2017.
In reaching my decision not to exercise discretion to investigate these earlier events, I have had regard to correspondence between Ms C and Parking Services in 2007.
“I note however that Ms C did not question whether the property was car-free in that correspondence and, at this point, the change in the TRO had not been made.
“I have also had regard to Ms C’s assertion that the council continuing to issue permits after was aware of the property’s car-free status is evidence that it admits fault.
“But the continuing issuing of permits could equally have been done as a goodwill gesture, and Ms C has provided no evidence of the council admitting fault.”