Cars are getting away with parking on The Level because of a loophole which means Brighton and Hove City Council can’t issue fines there.
Yellow warning notices have been put on the windscreens of the offending vehicles which park on the park’s outer paths – but no fines can be levied as the paths aren’t designated as a public highway.
Residents are calling for more to do be done to stop cars parking – but the council says the only other thing it can do is to erect bollards using money that would otherwise be spent on park maintenance.
The issue was raised this month on Twitter by “Lela”, who tweeted the council to say: “We see cars parked in the Level in Brighton every day and they get away with a warning every time. Yet when we’re two days late renewing our parking permit, we immediately get a fine in front of our flat. What kind of standards are these?”
Roland from Coldean agreed, telling Brighton and Hove News: “I cycle through the Level every day taking my kids to school and to get to work. It’s normally one of the nicer parts of the route since it’s completely segregated from motor traffic, but having cars and vans driving onto the footpath/cyclepath obviously poses a risk to cyclists and pedestrians.
“Even when parked, they block the pedestrian half of the path, meaning people have to walk on the cycle path. I saw the warning notices (instead of fines) at the beginning of April, I think they should be giving out fines given that driving and parking on the pavement is dangerous and illegal.”
Mark Strong, Brighton and Hove Community Works transport representative, said: “I raised the problems caused by illegal parking on The Level with Brighton and Hove City Council some time ago.
“There seems to be very little action apart from an occasional sticker on a windscreen. Cars and vans parked here make it hard for people walking and cycling.
“They narrow the path and obstruct the view of people enjoying the Level, they damage grass verges and banks, and they are sticking two fingers up at law abiding drivers who pay for permits or short-term parking. I have no idea why city parks has let this go on for so long.”
A council spokeswoman said: “As the land at the Level is not part of the highway, we’re not able to issue FPNs. In these circumstances, we rely on the public to behave in a responsible and respectful way.
“This land isn’t a car park, it’s part of a public park and recreation space. We have appealed to car owners not to park in this area and most people have accepted and respected this request.
“If a minority of drivers continue to park in this area, we will be forced to take action to prevent this – erecting bollards for example – but this will come at a cost and, at a time when budgets for protecting and maintaining the city’s parks are limited, it will eat into funds that could be spent on things of a higher priority and greater benefit to all park users.”