Outraged families are being ordered to pay £215 to drive across the pavement to their own homes by council chiefs – in what residents have slammed as a “money-grabbing exercise”.
Baffled neighbours on a quiet street in Barry, South Wales, received letters from the local authority demanding drivers pay an admin fee to cross pavements to reach their drives.
The families were warned it is illegal for them to cross the paving to take their cars into their own homes and they could be fined.
But residents have been doing it for years without any problems after moving into their home with the driveways already installed decades ago.
On top of the £215 “permission” fee, neighbours say Vale of Glamorgan council has also asked them to carry out works on the road.
They say it could cost up to £1,000 to make changes to the streets in line with the council’s requests.
And the alterations would mean the roads becoming jammed up with traffic as there wouldn’t be enough space for all the cars to park.
Council chiefs were branded “heavy-handed” for clamping down on homes where home-owners bump over the kerb to get into their drive.
Joanna Yarr, who lives on one of the affected roads, said: “When we purchased our house in 2013, off-road parking was a selling feature.
“We don’t understand why – if the access to the driveway was not legal – did it not come up in the local searches?
“It will cost us hundreds and we will have to use their approved contractors.
“Caradoc Avenue is not wide enough for us all to park on the road and as it’s often used as a through road it would cause havoc to do so.
“The pavement is only around 44mm high along this road and it’s going to cost thousands to have the work done.
“This seems like a money-grabbing exercise – it’s disgusting.”
The council wrote that families needed “appropriately constructed vehicular crossing” to park in their driveways in quiet Heol Pantycelin – roughly translated as Hollystream Street in Welsh.
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.
“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.”
A Vale of Glamorgan council spokesperson 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.”