BT forced to move parking restriction signs after wrongly fining Ilford drivers for parking legally on public land
PUBLISHED: 17:08 30 January 2020
Telecomms giant BT has been forced to move a number of parking restriction signs outside its Ilford offices after it was found to have been wrongly issuing tickets to drivers who had parked legally on public land.
Redbridge Council has asked a private company hired by BT, Private Parking Solutions, to stop issuing tickets to cars parked in Prior Road, near Ilford Hill, "as they have no authority to enforce on public land".
The council said Prior Road is a dedicated highway for public use, but a spokesman for BT, which has offices on the land, said it "reluctantly" employed the parking firm to maintain access to its buildings at all times.
"As engineers were regularly unable to gain access to the exchange due to cars blocking the entrance, we reluctantly instructed a company to maintain access," the spokesman said.
"We are discussing the matter with Redbridge Council to find a solution and ensure we can keep the Ilford area connected 24/7."
Rasheda Malik Ali is one of a number of residents who has parked in the road for many years without any problems.
She has received 11 tickets so far, totalling £1,100, but has refused to pay any of them.
"From nowhere, on December 25, tickets were issued on all cars parked legally and signs erected stating we are parking on private property," she said.
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"I have consulted the council and have proof that this so-called private land was adopted by the council in 1980 and is a dedicated highway for public use."
Another resident, Handel McKoy, said: "As you can imagine it was an utter shock to find the first ticket on my car, having complied as I normally do.
"I noticed several signs had appeared out of nowhere indicating that the area is now a no parking zone at anytime, indicating this is private land.
"It's the people who have paid the fines - they have a right to get their money back.
"We simply have nowhere else to park."
A spokesman for Redbridge Council said the enforcement company has now moved its signage to cover the land owned by BT.
"Following our intervention in this matter before Christmas, the enforcement company concerned have since moved the signage to cover the land owned by BT," he said.
"They are now entitled to carry out parking enforcement in this area of private land.
"If people wish to challenge any fines they feel were issued unfairly, they will need to raise this directly with the company."