News, Culture & Society

Stafford pensioner’s row over parking outside his home

  • Homeowner was slapped with a £35 parking fine for leaving car outside home
  • He insists he has always used the piece of grass, which he owns, for parking
  • But after two-year to-and-fro with local officials, they insist it is public highway
  • Pensioner has been told he needs to pay nearly £400 to change the land use 

A pensioner has hit out at his local council after a two-year battle over whether he had the right to park on his own land.

The bureaucratic wrangle began in September 2015, when Bob Cartwright was hit with a parking fine for leaving his Ford Fiesta on a patch of grass outside his home in Stafford.

He eventually agreed to pay the £35 fine but has since been seeking to convince local officials he did nothing wrong.

Bob Cartwright has been locked in a two-year bureaucratic row with his local council over whether he can park on a piece of grass he has used for more than three decades

To add insult to injury, the 74-year-old has now been told he needs to embark on another lengthy and costly process to change the use of the grassy area.

Mr Cartwright, a former salesman who lives with his wife Sandra, said: ‘I have used this strip to park for 30 years pretty much every day. It is part of our home and it is our parking space.

‘I was shocked to have been given the fine in the first place and what has come after is just completely stupid.

‘The deeds to my house show this is land that belongs to me and now I am being told to pay more than £380 to have the use changed so I can carry on doing what I have been doing for decades.’

The piece of grass is set back from the pavement and road near Mr Cartwright's front garden

The piece of grass is set back from the pavement and road near Mr Cartwright’s front garden

Staffordshire County Council say an application to change the use of the land from public highway to a parking space will cost £384.

Helen Fisher, the council’s cabinet support member for highways and transport, said: ‘At the moment the grass strip is legally regarded as part of the highway.

‘We have spoken to Mr Cartwright and said that if he wishes to make an application to the Department for Transport so that the grass strip is no longer classed that way, the county council would not oppose it.’

What’s the law on public highways? 

A public highway designates a legal right of the public to pass and repass over land, regardless of its ownership.

The owner of the land cannot obstruct the highway and the right can only be ‘extinguished’ legally.

Landowners can however apply to their local authorities to extinguish the highway and remove all public rights of way.

The local council will consider whether the ‘highway’ is presently or recently used by the public and any potential future need for the land to designated as highway.