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Westminster (London) Pay by Phone Parking


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Hello All.

I thought I would post this on the CAG Forum to raise awareness for those who use Pay by Phone Parking (including by SMS Text Message) within the Borough of Westminster, London.

Having had difficulty paying for parking after my initial 4 hour maximum stay, I thought I would send an email to Westminster Council, to ask about where they stand on the matter of moving a vehicle from one set of bays to another, and paying again for parking.

The reply was quite informative, although open to interpretation in parts. Firstly, I'll show the email I sent, and then below, their reply. I'd like to add, this wasn't a complaint, and I had not received a PCN, I just wanted to know what the deal was...


Dear Sir/Madam,

Having parked my vehicle in Curzon St at the corner of Chesterfield Gardens today (location 8831) for 4 hrs, i then attempted to move to the opposite side of Chesterfield Gdns for another 4 hrs.

Unfortunately i could not do this as although the road markings show a double-white border signifying the end of a run of bays, the locations both sides of Chesterfield Gdns are 8831.

Either one of these areas needs to be given a different location number, or the road markings need to be changed to show it as one run of bays either side of Chesterfield Gdns.




Thank you for your correspondence of the 8 December 2011, in which you have described an issue in Curzon Street, on the corner of Chesterfield Gardens, involving the location numbers of the paid-for parking bays.


You state that you had parked your vehicle in Curzon Street, on the corner of Chesterfield Gardens, in location 8831, for 4 hours. You then attempted to move your vehicle to the opposite side of Chesterfield Gardens for a further 4 hours, but found you were unable to do so, as the location number for this bay was the same as the one you had moved from, despite the road marking clearly identifying them as separate paid-for parking bays.


You believe, therefore, that the location numbers should be different to allow motorists to park on one side of Chesterfield Gardens for up to 4 hours, and then move their vehicle to the other side of the street to park for a further 4 hours. Failing that, you believe the road markings need to be amended to reflect that these bays are a continuation of one another and that motorists can only park for one session of up to 4 hours, with no return within 1 hour.


I should explain that the 4 hour maximum stay and the no return within 1 hour rules are applicable to the location, not just specific parking bays. So in this instance, by moving your vehicle from one side of Chesterfield Gardens to the other, your vehicle would still be parked within the same location, and these rules would still apply. Therefore, no changes to the location numbers, or to the road markings, are required as they are compliant with the relevant legislation.


Nevertheless, the City Council has chosen to only apply the maximum stay and no return regulations in locations where there is an acute shortage of available parking, coupled with a very high demand at certain times. As a result, these rules are not actively enforced across all locations. Whilst Parking Services still retain the option to enforce these rules where required, currently there are only a limited number of locations, such as St John’s Wood High Street, where these rules are actively enforced. If and when Parking Services need to enforce these rules in other locations, they would do so initially by Warning Notices, advising motorists that they may receive Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) in the future.


This does not mean the City Council condones the practice of staying beyond the maximum stay period, or returning to the same location within 1 hour. In fact, the City Council’s Pay by Phone service will prevent any motorist from creating a single parking session which exceeds the maximum stay period for that location.


However, because not all payment periods, even when added together, will equal more than the maximum stay for a parking location, the Pay by Phone system still needs to accept further payments. As a result, motorists can successfully pay for more parking time than is allowed, but not as a single payment. However, it should be noted that motorists do so at their own risk, as this is in contravention of the maximum stay parking regulations clearly signposted within the parking bays. Thus, subsequent Pay by Phone top-ups, or separate parking sessions, can be made for the same location even after the maximum stay has been exceeded, but the system will remind the motorist that a maximum stay exists.


Whilst I appreciate the reasons behind your request, I should explain that there is nothing to prevent you from paying to park on one side of Chesterfield Gardens (location 8831) for 4 hours, and then move your vehicle to the other side of Chesterfield Gardens (also location 8831) and pay for parking for a further 4 hours; the Pay by Phone service will allow you to do this, though your vehicle may be subject to enforcement action.


Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention and affording me the opportunity to address your concerns. I trust I have clarified the maximum stay and no return rules to your satisfaction and how they are currently applied.



Yours sincerely

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