Refresh your browser to see all the latest up dates since your last visit!

Not all browsers will refresh on opening.


If you as a resident experience obstruction by all day parking this is the advice from the Police!

Commuter Parking in the Avenues of Harpenden - An increasing problem but a faulted solution.
Yet, there is an alternative to the Council's plan..... (read on!)

Always refresh your screen when looking at this site - there may be more material to see that might still be hidden by your web-cache



See the devastating response received by the Council that argued that the Scheme is inchoate, incapable and vulnerable to legal challenge.


October 2016 and some progress at last!!

At a meeting of the SADC Parking Working Party on 05/10/16 it was announced that the proposed yellow line scheme has been dropped!

This is a major achievement for common sense.  Read the summary of the meeting here below or click on it to view a PDF.

The real problem still needs a solution so the problems of parking have not yet been solved.  Watch this space.


Read on for the complete history...

Have you any pictures of this problem?  Send them to the webmaster for publication here.



The Problems

  • Harpenden has limited space at its railway station for those who wish to park there whilst they travel to work on the train - usually to London.  There is frequently a need to find other places to park.

  • As a result many Harpenden commuters now park in the streets of the town because the station car park is full and/or they can avoid the considerable regular charges associated with parking at the station or at any of the other carparks in the town.

  • Then, on top of this, many commuters who live to the North of the town soon realise that by driving further South and parking in Harpenden, not only do they avoid parking charges but additionally they save a lot by taking a ticket from Harpenden rather than from their own station.  Over £980 each year can be saved by this means if you live in Bedford.



The Current Position

  • The problem with commuter parking in the streets of Harpenden is getting very much worse.  Only a little while ago it was easy to pass other vehicles in residential streets by pulling in to a gap at the side to let the approaching vehicle pass. Such gaps are now are much less frequent, driver attention is pushed to the limit and there have been several near-misses.  Cars are parked on or near bends, opposite junctions and sometimes too close to residents' entrances.

  • The position is already serious near schools where children need to be dropped off.  There are at least three schools, several businesses and care homes close together in or near the Avenues and commuter parking already makes life particularly difficult there.

  • Action is needed but that proposed by the Council is seen by many, to be unworkable and inadequate.


[Click on the centre image  or here for more examples]


The Council's suggested solution - 2016 (NB The consultation on this is now closed.  More information is expected in the Summer of 2016)

In January 2016 St Albans Council issued a 'detailed' consultation on an extensive Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ). However this was only sent to those who the Council felt were currently affected. Their assessment of this has proved to be incorrect and faulted. Many more roads than these are already affected and even more will soon be affected if this scheme is adopted. This website has been set up to make information on the proposed scheme and the outcome of the consultation more widely available.


Read the Council's January Consultation document, see the areas affected by it. 
To open a PDF of the 2016 Consultation Document click
here or click on the image of the document to the left.


Responses to this Consultation had to be submitted by March 4th 2016.

Read an alternative possibility before you think you must accept the inevitable... (see below)


The Council's proposal involves the yellow lining of all streets that the Council regard as currently affected by commuter parking, the painting of permitted marked out parking bays, the need for residents to pay substantial sums annually for the use of one or up to three bays (with charges reviewed annually too), the issue of permits for the use of bays, the employment of another 'warden' to patrol the town and a complicated mechanism whereby the schools in the area may use a specified number of bays at certain times.


However many feel that the Council's proposal beggars belief. The streets that the Council suggest should be marked out do not even cover all those in which commuters currently park and the Council have not alerted residents of those streets that are not proposed to be included in the scheme.  Any Traffic Consultant will tell you that as soon as a part of a town is blocked to parking for any reason, the problem will move immediately elsewhere. This phenomenon is known as 'Displacement'. Yet despite knowing this (and even recognising it in an earlier survey!) the Council refuses to notify all Harpenden residents arguing that:

"When consulting on proposed Traffic Regulation Order the council consults with the resident and properties directly affected by the proposals ie those road that will have restrictions implemented on them.  As mentioned in your E mail displacement is possible however it is not know (sic) where this displacement will go to and it is not appropriate to consult a wider area if no current parking issues exist in that road. The Council does make all consultations available on our website and anyone can comment on the proposals at any stage".

It is clear to all that 'displacement' will occur and that it is also clear that under the present scheme, commuter parking will extend to all of the town since any part of Harpenden is within walking distance of the station.
  Why then, one might ask, have not all the town been consulted - especially since in an earlier Council consultation some years back, displacement was accepted as inevitable. Then, so why not now?


For reference, the original consultation reply form is Here (or click on the image on the left). Emailed votes or comments to the address that is given on the form were accepted by the deadline.  Want to see others' comments?

Despite many residents not being informed, any and all votes/comments sent in by March 4th were taken into consideration.

Many of the streets adjacent to the proposed area are already affected by commuters on some days.  Many of the residents of these areas had not heard what is about to befall them! For the Council to say that it is not 'appropriate to consult those who will undoubtedly come to be affected' is disingenuous to say the least and to some it smacks of an attempt to get approval by only consulting those currently worse affected. 

In fact of course the position is that those, through no fault of their own, who will come to be worst affected, are the very people not to be consulted and who will by then have no say in what does eventually get 'wished on' them.

Some who were or who would be, badly affected felt that the Council's proposals offered them some hope.  However businesses and shops in the town view the proposals with dread.  Many businesses, notably Waitrose (see part of their response here), Sainsbury's, M&S, Boots and more, employ staff who have to drive to Harpenden and who have always been able to park in nearby streets.  They cannot afford the annual bay-parking charges and because their shifts typically involve a little over 9 hours (an eight hour working day plus lunch plus parking and walking) they cannot afford the long term charges that apply in the Council car parks.  Harpenden has enough problems maintaining its High Street without adding staffing to them.   Residents too are concerned by a need to apply for special provision (a derogation order) when tradesmen need to work on their property.  Such obvious restrictions affect house prices.  As well as all this Residents are required to pay annually (and the charge is reviewed annually too) for each permit to park requested and a new 'traffic officer' will have to be recruited.


Read what the Herts Advertiser of 25th February 2016 said about this problem


Page 3 of the edition of the Herts Advertiser dated Thursday 25th February, mentions the concerns that residents have about the Council's proposed scheme.

Click on the image to the left to read a PDF of the article in question.


Letter of information sent to some residents not all included inside the Council's designated area, giving links to necessary information and stressing the need for a response by March 4th 2016.


2 March 2016

Interim comment from John Charlton at the Council:

"The consultation closes on 4 March and we will then start reviewing the information contained in the responses. We have had a number of responses so it could take up to the middle of May to complete the review. I will then prepare a report for local Ward Councillors for them to consider. The Ward Councillors will then decide whether the scheme should be abandoned, amended or progressed unaltered. The final decision however rest with the Council’s Portfolio Holder for Localism and Community Engagement.
Once the decision is made residents will be informed.
I would not expect this decision to be sent out before the Summer.
Please let know if you require anything further."

John Charlton
Environment Compliance Officer - Parking

A possible alternative, by use of a Bye-Law? Something that has not yet been considered by this Council but has by others...

Some residents have expressed interest in a wholly different way of achieving the desired result of preventing unwanted commuter parking which the Council have never properly considered - though other councils have. You might want St Albans Council to really consider this even though they will undoubtedly need a push to get behind it.  Mention it in your reply...


All that is needed is a Bye-Law declaring the whole town of Harpenden an area of no on-street commuter parking.  Notices would then only have to be placed at every road entering the town. There would be no yellow lines, no designated parking places, no significant maintenance needed and no need for any regular patrolling by wardens.  Any necessary ‘policing’ would only be triggered by any resident who might be inconvenienced and/or by one who suspects that a parked vehicle has been there all day.  He/she would then only need to contact the office of traffic control officers (or of course the Police) with the registration number of the suspect vehicle and if that car is not owned by a resident of a street near where it was parked, or is on  a maintained list of shop workers' and other valid vehicles, then and only then, would a visit by an official be needed to photograph the vehicle, take other details so as to discover if the Bye-Law had been breached by someone working all day outside the town. 


A suitable deterrent penalty could then be imposed on such people.  Yes, at the outset there may well be a heavy rash of offenders to target but only a few of these need to be pursued and after some well publicised prosecutions, it will come down.


The proposed system has the additional advantage that small, isolated and non-troubling parking might not even need to be reported.  There would be no problems with derogation orders, no restrictions on the numbers of persons visiting any house in Harpenden, no problems with children of families growing up to own their own car and not be able to park it and there would be no parking pushed further away from designated bays as will happen with the present system.  There would be no additional need for provision of places for school parking either. It would be a real system where those doing the damage take the rap and not those who are inconvenienced having been left to pay.


In support of this we note that Lincolnshire County Council has recently introduced byelaws to prohibit overnight parking in some places so this approach is possible and it is to be hoped that the idea might offer a far better solution – one that does not involve any more expense by St Albans council and of course in annual permits, by Harpenden residents either. More

Steve Willis, Chief Operating Officer, Lincolnshire County Council said: “We issued proceedings against these individuals to enforce the coastal byelaws and the restrictions on unauthorised overnight parking. We’re pleased that the individuals and the court have accepted the validity of the byelaws and sanctions have been imposed accordingly.



Comments by residents with points several people made...

Interested in reading other people's comments? 

1. Streetlife is a discussion forum which currently carries quite a few comments on the current Harpenden Parking issue.  NB You may need to register if you want to look at it but it's very easy to do. Give it a try. Just search for 'Harpenden Parking'.

2. Also Harpendia has an entry about this 'fiasco'.  It also includes colour maps of the proposals.  Go to



Although I would in principle support a CPZ scheme, I cannot accept the current design and therefore have checked the no box.


Harpenden is likely to suffer increasing pressure for car parking spaces for the following reasons:-

- increased car ownership in general

- housing infills creating more homes

- new housing developments, particularly the planned huge estate near Cooters Hill Lane (I hear possibly 500 new houses!)

- commuters and travellers from outside  Harpenden who use our station because of its superior links to London, Brighton and Europe


With this in mind, one would hope therefore that the council is already in the process of facilitating an addition to the town's car parking assets such as a multi storey car park at the station.


Given this growth in demand, it puzzles me why the council should introduce piecemeal restrictions that gradually push away parkers from one area at a cost of increased pressure elsewhere. Past plans have turned street after street into a parking desert devoid of cars. This has wasted spaces that could have been made available to benefit the town and has pushed the cars that used to park there to other streets which don't have restrictions. So if Salisbury Avenue gets CPZ and Rosebery and Longcroft opt out, then the ejected Salisbury cars will fill up Rosebery, then Longcroft. Then they will start on Park Avenue and so on....Surely, a holistic approach is required!


I have contacted all of the residents in Salisbury Avenue and spoken to many of them. Virtually everyone is unhappy with the state of the road and most with commuter/holiday parking. Some, particularly those living on the (downhill ) East side, have difficulty entering the road safely due to their vision being obscured by high sided or over parked vehicles. All of the residents I have talked to however would be happy for both shoppers and particularly the town's low paid workers to have access to free or low cost parking on our road. 


Most residents would support a scheme that would reduce parking congestion by excluding commuters, providing that it properly catered for the workers of the town and made provision for the residents and shoppers.


The proposed scheme would meet the needs of the shoppers but not the workers and therefore gets my no vote. The number of workers permits proposed for the entire town would not even meet the needs of Waitrose, let alone the other shops and small businesses. The workers in the town are the lifeblood of Harpenden,  are usually very low paid and so need additional consideration. I don't see any evidence of that in the council proposals. For your interest,  Waitrose have 203 staff, nearly all of whom use on street parking. However, because Waitrose operates a shift system only about 1/3  of these actually need parking at any one time. The towns streets can probably therefore cope with demand and even be thinned out slightly with a well planned parking system.


 I am not sure whether the council has carried out adequate research. For example, does the council know how many commuters park on our streets? Does it know how many town workers park on our streets? I suspect that the answer is no to both questions and if so then I wonder how the council can devise any sensible parking strategy without an understanding of those fundamental facts.


I strongly recommend that you rethink this with a view to producing a scheme that will meet the following criteria. If you do so, I believe you will produce a system that will alleviate the concerns of the residents I have spoken to.


1. It should involve all the streets in the town. All that will happen if you don't is that the commuters will move onto the next street. 

2. Workers passes should be at the lowest possible cost (say max £30) as they are important for the vitality of Harpenden and are invariably low paid. The number of passes issued should not be restricted providing they can prove they work here.

3. Most Commuters and airport workers should be excluded ( a single restriction of 1 hour during the day should achieve this). This is tough on commuters but we don't have much choice and their parking does not benefit the town in the same way as a worker or shopper parking. However, to help very early morning commuters (e.g London office cleaners) who are generally low paid, the restriction could be applied in the afternoon.

4. Residents permits as currently proposed are reasonable and should be accepted albeit with some complaints.

5. The 36p a day visitors charge is reasonable also. 

6. I don't see the need to separate residents and workers parking areas (as currently proposed). We coexist quite well together already so why complicate it. Separate areas will make the system less efficient and administration more complicated.


With regard to Salisbury Avenue, which has become a rat run, any diminution of parking congestion is likely to increase traffic road speeds and so speed bumps are a likely consequence.


Finally, you really need to better explain how the system works because in my conversations, I have noted that some residents do not understand how this will affect them personally and would probably vote differently if they did.


I would be happy to discuss this and the feedback I have received from fellow residents if it would help.


The council have no strategy for parking in Harpenden, they just implement random plans for groups of streets and there is no joined up thinking. They are demonising commuters or trying to make money from them with street parking, pricing the shop workers out of Harpenden which will further diminish the shops in Harpenden, trying to charge residents for parking outside their own houses and all with no grand plan.

The Avenues parking plan is a good example of the folly, a large number of residents don’t want it. Not only that, residents not included in the plan are already objecting about not having a say and then being forced to accept a problem that has just moved to their roads.

The council seem to think there is spare capacity in the car parks, the only way to get a spot is to prowl like a predator following someone with a set of car keys in their hand. The new 500 houses proposed for NE Harpenden will just make it worse.

What it needs is someone in the council to take the lead and create a plan that will consider the long term future. If we need multi-story car parks, then so be-it, but let’s not just fudge the issue by short term measures.

If you live in the Avenues return your voting slip and record a 'No' vote before the 4th March


As a resident, I am very grateful to you for bringing the consultation to my attention – this is the first that I have heard about it.  I will certainly take a look at the Council website and respond by the 4th March.


The scheme is utterly faulted. It will lead to a major problem for businesses in the town – the last thing that Harpenden needs, particularly at the moment, Shop staff who already find it hard to get to, and work in, Harpenden will be additionally disadvantaged and customers will begin to see the town as no longer a shopping experience of interest. This is contrary to the Local Plan which seeks to encourage a better mix of wealth and to encourage resident based employment in the retail sector and the like.
The proposals to place ANY sort of CPZ in the Avenues will simply push the commuter parking elsewhere. It will not reduce the actual levels of commuter parking unless and until the whole of Harpenden is a CPZ since all parts of the town are within walking distance of the station.
The costs associated with the plan are ridiculous – and this is only for the initial phase. It is wholly wrong that a plan should be devised whereby the people causing the problem are subsidised by those who are affected. It is also wholly wrong that this ‘consultation’ should only be directed at residents directly affected at this time. The whole of Harpenden town and its rural areas should be consulted. A vote in favour from such a small part of the town as currently proposed will simply lead to others having had no vote over what will ultimately befall them. The implementation of this scheme will have a major effect on house prices and on the attractiveness of Harpenden to others. Because traffic will simply park elsewhere a blight will be visited on all of Harpenden’s housing by this bizarre and inept scheme. The scheme makes no provision for families whose growing children will need to buy a car of their own . Such a policy is contrary to normal freedoms.
At the moment large savings are to be had from those driving to Harpenden to park free, avoid a parking fee AND have a much smaller priced train ticket. It is wrong that Harpenden residents should suffer from this.

There is an alternative approach – namely that of a town wide Bye Law. This would involve far less expense, have little or no adverse consequences for residents and be effective at keeping parking commuters away. Such a system has been enacted in Lincolnshire for a different though similarly strange problem of parking. See for more details of how this could work.
The presently proposed scheme should be abandoned.


Re parking restrictions: I'd like to point out that it isn't only shop keepers we have to consider. I used to regularly visit a disabled colleague towards the edge of town who welcomed visitors. But since parking restrictions were imposed in the area around his house I've hardly visited him: it's such a palaver for him to find the necessary permit forms and for me to remember the terms of the restrictions. Following a bad experience when I took him to the L&D (I was fined a considerable sum for an alleged parking offence and my case failed on appeal despite it being blindingly obvious from photos that I'd violated no displayed terms and conditions - a well-known national scandal) I'm not risking it again.


The so-called Controlled Parking Zone scheme has been seeping outwards from the town centre for a few years. Each time it was claimed that no-one would want to park and walk further than the outer boundary of the scheme, but each time they are proved wrong and the scheme is expanded. The latest proposal will bring it to within a couple of hundred yards of our road. Before long, commuters and shop workers will be parking all day in Barns Dene. This will be inconvenient and dangerous and will likely lead to Barns Dene being offered CPZ status (at a cost) and the parking problem passed on to Pondwick and Claygate.


The Harpenden Society has been contacted by residents about the SADC proposal to introduce parking restrictions in the Harpenden 'Avenues' area. Only selected residents have been asked to provide comments on the scheme by the 4th March.

We have been informed that these proposals were first discussed with local residents as long as three years ago. However, in the interim it is clear that the environment has changed. Our formerly prosperous High Street is suffering from empty shop units, and shop workers (many on minimum wage) are saying they will no longer be able to afford to work in Harpenden if they have to pay for parking.

The Harpenden Society currently does not have an opinion about the advantages and disadvantages of the particular scheme proposed but it does appear that the parking situation in Harpenden is now critical. The reasons for the rapid deterioration appear not to be clearly understood, as Councillor Heritage said at the recent meeting held at Fowden Hall, Rothamsted to discuss the Strategic Local Plan.

It would therefore seem reasonable to defer a decision on the Avenues parking scheme until a full investigation into the parking situation in Harpenden is carried out and a medium to long term strategy developed to plan for the next decade. This should include a survey to understand who is actually parking and an estimate of growth for the forthcoming years, taking account of additional housing and population expansion. Combined with this, a coherent plan for the provision of parking spaces is essential. It is clear that the piecemeal approach currently being implemented is not working and just results in the problem being shifted from one road to the next.

The development of the parking strategy could be carried out by a small team led by Harpenden Town Council, consisting of officers, councillors, representatives of the retailers and representatives of the residents.

The Harpenden Society would be more than happy to put forward a representative if such a team were formed.



Dear Mr Charlton

Consultation on Permit Parking – The Avenues

We write to confirm that we do not agree with the scheme design. However we do have a suggestion for an alternative.

As presented in your letter of 27 January 2016 to selected residents, we believe the scheme to be unworkable in practice and it should be abandoned for the following reasons:

1. The Consultation is itself faulted. The fact is that its planning has failed properly to consider the well known and predictable aspects of traffic displacement; as a result, and indeed as disclosed in your recent letter (dated 27 February) no attempt has been made to predict this. Examples of displacement abound throughout the UK and prediction of it in a town like Harpenden, which is largely surrounded by Green Belt and where almost all its streets are within walking distance of the station, is entirely straightforward. It is incorrect to say that ‘…it is not know (sic) where this displacement will go to… We suggest that any qualified traffic consultant would have been readily able to identify such risks for the Council.

2. Subsequent to point one above, the Council then failed to exercise its right to inform and consult those other residents who might become affected by the proposed scheme. As a result, if the scheme came to be implemented largely as a result of this consultation, other residents later affected by displacement would be faced with the imposition of an already existing scheme without having first been consulted on it and, at that stage, without any ability to vote for an alternative and of course without the then-implemented scheme having ever been designed to cover such an eventuality. That is manifestly unjust.

3. Inexplicably, the scheme as proposed has been cast such that those affected by the problem of commuter street parking pay for the cost of a supposed solution yet those who are the root cause of the problem of out-of-town parking, do not. That is clearly wrong.

4. The scheme as proposed will place unnecessary restrictions on residents, will have a significant effect on house prices, makes no provision for families whose growing children will come to need to run a car of their own and it will therefore seriously impact the attractiveness of Harpenden to others. Because traffic will simply park elsewhere this scheme will visit a blight upon all of Harpenden’s housing, not just on the areas currently being considered. That is unreasonable and, we submit, is entirely unacceptable.

5. The consultation as published does not even cover some streets that are already the subject of commuter parking. By way of example I refer you to Moreton Avenue. Just one photographic example of this can be seen at There are others.

6. Moreton Avenue and Moreton End Lane provide access to three schools and a nursing home. Moreton Avenue actually forms a junction with two of the worst commuter-affected roads in Harpenden (Douglas Road and Salisbury Avenue) and so increased displacement into those will be certain. That will then expand an existing problem since these roads are heavily used at certain times of the day. It is a serious omission in the plans for any parking scheme not to consider such issues. Clearly a complete survey of the Avenues parking problem has yet to be made. Perhaps one made to an adjusted Lambeth Methodology might be appropriate?

7. Commuter parking in the Avenues has been a problem for years but it has increased dramatically recently and this consultation’s ideas for control of it seem only to be considering the problem of years ago, not this recent considerable increase. Parking in the Avenues is inconsiderate and can be found opposite road junctions (see that picture of Moreton Avenue referred to above) and even on bends and pavements. The need for vehicles to negotiate passing where no gap in the parked cars exists, represents a danger not just to the vehicles involved but also because drivers have to switch their concentration away from those - especially children - who might be stepping out from between vehicles and thus may not be observed quickly enough. A far better plan is required.

8. The current problem must surely have at its root the astonishing financial benefit that there is to be had for those who park in Harpenden’s streets. Such people incur no parking charge and, by travelling here from more northerly towns, many can additionally benefit from a much reduced season ticket price too. Someone who today drives from Bedford (a journey of only some 25 miles each way) can benefit from an annual saving of approximately £980.00 in this way. It is entirely wrong that Harpenden residents should suffer the danger and inconvenience of commuter and airport parking simply in order to provide benefits to those who cause the inconvenience and danger in the first place.

9. The scheme as proposed is astonishingly and unnecessarily complicated. Not only that but a consequence of it is that residents affected by the scheme will be required to obtain a derogation order whenever tradesmen need to park to undertake significant work.

The so called ‘provision’ by which visitors may park in CPZs is just not practical for those who are elderly or disabled. Just one example: We have recently heard of one Harpenden resident who regularly used to visit a disabled colleague who welcomed visitors and who lives towards the edge of town. But, since similar CPZ parking restrictions have been imposed in the area around his house, he has hardly been visited. It's ‘such a palaver’ for him to find the necessary permit forms and for him to remember the terms of the restrictions. It is plainly ridiculous for vulnerable people to be subjected to this. For the possibility of that becoming the norm in most of Harpenden is frightening. The design of the present scheme has all the appearance of it being ill-conceived from the outset and needing addition after addition in an attempt to overcome the inevitable problems.

10. The scheme is faulted in other respects too. It will lead to a problem for businesses in the town. Many shop assistants already find it hard to get to, and work in, Harpenden; yet they haven’t been properly considered. They have for years driven in and parked carefully and sensibly in nearby streets. Their doing so over a long period of time has represented no problems for residents. These persons simply cannot afford the parking charges the council already levies in Harpenden’s car parks, particularly when their need is frequently for nine hour parking. These staff will be further disadvantaged under this proposed scheme and may even be required to purchase permits which they just cannot afford. The problem doesn’t end with the smaller shops either. It is now known to be a serious concern for Waitrose, M&S, Sainsbury’s, Boots, surgeries and more. Customers will soon begin to see the town as no longer a shopping experience of interest. It is clear that these problems have hardly been considered by those who devised this scheme, one which is surely now contrary to the Local Plan and to Government advice? After all the Local Plan seeks to encourage nearby based employment in the retail sector – particularly so given the increasing problems of premises closure in Harpenden. It cannot be right for the council now to be suggesting a scheme that will so dramatically and adversely affect the town.

11. The council are apparently on record as thinking that there is spare capacity in the various town car parks which could or should be used by commuters . Can this really be true? If so it must surely be yet another reason to suspect that an inadequate survey has been conducted before this proposal ever saw the light of day. Parking to shop in Harpenden is a nightmare. The new 500+ houses proposed for NE Harpenden will just make things even worse. Station parking should be extended to several stories and additional town parking provided in a similar way. There appears to be naïve thinking regarding the need for cars. There is no simple division between disabled and non-disabled motorists such as the blue badge scheme implies. There is a continuum of disability in life where some can walk down and back up the hill with some shopping but not a lot. For local parking to be as bad as it is (and of course as bad as it will further get) is simply to condemn the High Street shops to seeing their potential customers buying only a few items - if that - at each visit. For the town to thrive a minimum of two hours of free nearby car parking is needed for every resident and that parking needs to exclude commuters and airport parking.

12. A Solution. Even adequate parking will not stop the commuters unless the parking charge for them exceeds that for the station. Another way is called for. A ‘Park and Ride’ system might be feasible and it certainly might be investigated but it will still not prevent those who think they can get away with paying nothing. A far better approach is for the County Council to implement a Bye-Law that prohibits commuter and airport street parking in the whole of Harpenden. Notices would then only have to be placed at every road entering the town. There would be no yellow lines, no other signage, no designated parking places, no permits, no visitor compliance forms, no significant maintenance needed, no need for derogation orders and no need for any regular patrolling by enforcement officers – let alone the need to recruit one more. Any necessary ‘policing’ need only be triggered by a resident who might be inconvenienced and/or by one who suspects that a parked vehicle has been there all day. He/she would then only need to telephone the office of traffic control officers (or of course the Police) with the registration number of the suspect vehicle and if that car is not owned by a resident of a street near where it was parked, or is not on a maintained list of shop workers’ and other valid vehicles, then and only then, would a visit by an official be needed to photograph the vehicle to take other details and thereafter to discover if the Bye-Law had been breached by someone parking whilst working all day outside the town.

After further enquiry of the driver, a suitable deterrent penalty could then be imposed on people found to have breached the Bye-Law. Yes, at the outset there may well be a heavy rash of offenders to target and a few out-of-town tradesmen who frequently work in Harpenden, and forget to register but only a few of these will need to be pursued and after some well publicised prosecutions, the numbers will fall.

The proposed system has the further advantage that small, isolated and non-troubling parking might not even need to be reported. There would be no problems with derogation orders, no restrictions on the numbers of persons visiting any house in Harpenden, no problems with children of families growing up to run their own car and not be able to park it and there would be no parking pushed further away from designated bays as will happen with the present system. There would be no additional need for provision of places for school parking either. It would be a fully viable system where those creating the problem pay and those who are inconvenienced by their actions do not.

In support of this we note that Lincolnshire County Council has recently introduced byelaws to prohibit overnight parking in some places, so this approach is entirely possible and it is to be hoped that the idea might offer a far better solution – one that does not involve any ongoing expense by St Albans Council and of course in annual permits, by Harpenden residents either. See the summary of some of the legal issues overleaf.

Steve Willis, Chief Operating Officer, Lincolnshire County Council has said of their scheme: “We issued proceedings against these individuals to enforce the coastal byelaws and the restrictions on unauthorised overnight parking. We’re pleased that the individuals and the court have accepted the validity of the byelaws and sanctions have been imposed accordingly.



FAO:John Charlton
RE:Proposed parking consultation The Avenues Harpenden

“consultation, is a regulatory process by which the public's input on matters affecting them is sought. Its main goals are in improving the efficiency, transparency and public involvement in large-scale projects or laws and policies.”

I am objecting to the proposals suggested by SADC on these points.
1. As stated above a consultation should involve the PUBLIC and yet a good proportion of people who will be affected by this have not been properly consulted. This is evidenced by the fact that the response paper has clearly been designed with the residents in mind and not the public users of the roads affected. A road unless stated is not owned by its residents but is public and therefore the public users should have been consulted properly. This has clearly not been done as not all roads affected have been targeted and businesses have not been given an appropriate feedback form. Consultation Principles 23016 clearly states “Consultations should be targeted. Consider the full range of people, business and voluntary bodies affected by the policy, and whether representative groups exist.”
2. The maps that go with this proposal are not clear enough and this goes against the Consultation Guidelines set down by the government whereby consultations should be “clear and concise”
3. If this is proposal were to go ahead it is going to have a detrimental effect on the viability of the town as it will prevent both shoppers and workers from accessing the area. A town is nothing without a good range of shops ,as witnessed in Dunstable when parking restrictions were applied, and if workers cannot park and shoppers cannot park then they will go elsewhere and shops will struggle to stay on the High Street. Without shops people will not find the area quite so desirable and migration to other areas offering better facilities is likely. At that point house prices could decline and along with that the status of the area.
4. As retail workers, wages are consistently not high and yet we are going to be expected to pay for a permit which will not guarantee a space but just means I could park if there is one available. I would suggest then that SADC will be taking money off me under false pretences as I will be paying for a service but not receiving it in return?
5. There has been no alternative parking proposed should this scheme happen which is both short-sighted and unhelpful. To suggest workers can go elsewhere only highlights the fact the SADC are not actually aware of the lack of facilities available in Harpenden. Most of the car parks don't allow the times that a shop worker would need or are going to be too expensive for workers to pay bearing in mind their earning capabilities. The fact that SADC consider that 156 permits is enough for workers in Harpenden indicates just how out of touch they are with regard to parking needs in the whole of the town.
6. I understand that under the FOI Act no incidences or accidents have occurred in The Avenues so the reasons behind the need to put the scheme in place are at best flawed and worst ill thought out and untrue.
7. If the proposal has been put in place to deter commuters what survey has been carried out to ascertain who is commuting and who is a local worker? I would suggest none so this demonstrates again that a proper consultation has not been carried out. Has SADC approached Network Rail to expand the railway parking area so that commuter road parking could be alleviated?
I would hope that SADC consider other options rather than go ahead with his scheme. In doing so you will only be pushing the parking problem further out and this then suggests that this proposal has been undertaken on a “not in my back yard “ process which surely does not warrant such measures affecting so many for the sake of so few.



Dear Mr Charlton,
I am totally against the proposed parking scheme in The Avenues Harpenden and would like to register my objection to this.
I am a town worker and this proposal is going to stop shop workers from being able to access their jobs and provide a retail service to Harpenden.
No alternatives have been offered, car parking if available is cost prohibitive for low income earners like shop assistants and the consultation guidelines set down by the government do not seem to have been followed.

I understand this will go to various people for consideration but the final decision will be made by the Portfolio holder for Localism and Community Engagement.
Please can you tell me whether this will be a meeting to which the public can attend and when.

Comments on the Council’s Proposed Scheme for parking in the Avenues

1. The Council’s Proposed Scheme
On 27th January 2016, St Albans City & District Council (the “Council”) wrote to the residents of certain roads in Harpenden setting out its “detailed proposal for the permit parking scheme for the Avenues area” (the “Proposed Scheme”).
In that letter, the Council confirmed that its goals for the Proposed Scheme were as follows:
“The scheme is intended to stop all day commuter parking which then allows space for residents and their visitors to park near their homes and improve residents [sic] access to their properties and workers from Harpenden town centre businesses to park. The scheme will also improve road safety through amended and new yellow lines.”
The Council did not however seek to bring its Proposed Scheme to the attention of residents in all the roads that will be affected by it. In this context, the Council confirmed in an email to a local resident on 23rd February 2016 that:
“When consulting on [a] proposed Traffic Regulation Order the council consults with resident [sic] and properties directly affected by the proposals ie those road [sic] that will have restrictions implemented on them. As mentioned in your Email displacement is possible however it is not know [sic] where this displacement will go to and it is not appropriate to consult a wider area if no current parking issues exist in that road.
“The Council does make all consultations available on our website and anyone can comment on the proposals at any stage.”
For the reasons outlined briefly below, the Proposed Scheme is inchoate and incapable, in its current form, of achieving the Council’s stated objectives. In addition, the consultation procedure adopted by the Council in respect of the Proposed Scheme is flawed and in breach of the legitimate expectations of local residents who will be affected by displacement parking caused by the Proposed Scheme (if implemented) but who have not been directly informed about the Proposed Scheme by the Council.

2. Acknowledged displacement parking
As noted above, in its email of 23rd February 2016 the Council acknowledged that its Proposed Scheme could cause displacement parking but claimed that it did not know into which roads the commuter parking would be displaced. The Council’s current stance on displacement parking is both untenable and inconsistent with the approach that it adopted in 2012.
The Council has acknowledged that the problem with all-day parking in the Avenues is caused by itinerant commuters and not by local residents. By imposing parking restrictions in certain roads in the Avenues, the Council will not actually prevent the itinerant commuters from parking in Harpenden. Instead, it will simply cause them to park in adjoining roads which are not subject to parking restrictions. The Council cannot reasonably reach any other conclusion about the effect of its Proposed Scheme.
The reasonableness of this conclusion is confirmed by the approach adopted by the Council in 2012 when it proposed, among other things, to impose parking restrictions in Orchard Avenue, even though it acknowledged that there was no problem with commuter parking in that road at the time. In Appendix 4 to its letter to certain residents in November 2012, the Council justified this parking restriction in Orchard Avenue on the basis that it was being introduced:
“to anticipate the displacement parking that is likely to occur should the controls be introduced in the wider area.” (Emphasis added.)
Thus, by its conduct in 2012, the Council confirmed that it could and indeed should anticipate the displacement parking in an adjoining road that would be caused by the parking scheme which it proposed at that time. The Council’s failure to anticipate and address the displacement parking that will be caused by its current Proposed Scheme is a substantial defect with that Scheme.
In practice, approximately three and a half years after the Council’s proposal of November 2012, the parking situation in Harpenden has deteriorated and, due to their increased numbers, itinerant commuters now often park towards the eastern end of Orchard Avenue as well as the eastern end of Park Avenue South and the southern end of Maple Road. It is clear, therefore, that if the roads between the town centre and Orchard Avenue, Park Avenue and Maple Road are subjected to parking restrictions, more itinerant commuters will simply park in these three adjoining roads where parking is not restricted (and almost certainly in other proximate roads too as the Council’s Proposed Scheme is, on its own figures, intended to displace up to 730 parked cars). In the circumstances, merely seeking to address such displacement parking in this locality by preventing it occurring in Orchard Avenue, as the Council suggested in 2012, would clearly be an inadequate response to the current situation. The Council needs to recognize that all the roads which adjoin, or are otherwise proximate to, the area covered by the current Proposed Scheme will suffer from displacement parking if the Proposed Scheme is implemented.

3. The Proposed Scheme is substantively flawed
As noted above, in its letter of 27th January 2016 the Council confirmed that it has the following two goals for its Proposed Scheme:
(i) “to stop all day commuter parking”; and
(ii) to “improve road safety” in the town.
The Proposed Scheme is incapable, in its current form, of achieving either of these goals.
The Proposed Scheme seeks, in effect, to prohibit all-day commuter parking in certain roads in Harpenden. However, by its own admission, the Council has not had due regard to the fact that if the Proposed Scheme is adopted, itinerant commuters will simply seek out the nearest road in which parking is not restricted and park there. Shifting the problem of all-day commuter parking from one group of roads in Harpenden to another group of roads will not fulfil the Council’s goal of stopping such parking.
In the Q&As attached to its letter of 27th January 2016, the Council erroneously claims that the Parking Scheme will achieve its goal and “benefit the town as parking space will be free from all day commuter [sic]”. For the reasons outlined above, that claim is clearly false as even if the Proposed Scheme were adopted, all-day commuter parking would continue in Harpenden, albeit in different roads.
The Council’s second goal of improving road safety will also not be achieved by forcing itinerant commuters to park in different roads. If, as the Council acknowledges, all-day commuter parking can cause road safety issues, then the road safety issues will still arise when, following the introduction of the Proposed Scheme, itinerant commuters start parking in greater numbers in roads such as Orchard Avenue, Park Avenue and Maple Road. In addition, in this regard, it is notable that a number of years ago all-day commuter parking started to occur on the blind bend at the top (western end) of Rothamsted Avenue. It took the Council a long time to introduce the Traffic Regulation Order which allowed for parking restrictions to be introduced on that dangerous bend. Whilst this laborious process was taking place, itinerant commuters continued to park all day on this bend causing a very hazardous situation for local residents. In light of this past problem, the Council must take particular note of the fact that Park Avenue is essentially a long curve with blind bends on both the Southern and the Northern halves of the road. If the Council were to implement its Proposed Scheme without anticipating and addressing the displacement parking which will result in Park Avenue, the Council will actually cause material new road safety issues on this road.

4. The Council’s consultation is partial and unfair
In addition to these substantive defects with the Council’s Proposed Scheme, the Council has failed to discharge its public law duty to consult fully and fairly before introducing this Scheme.
All the residents of Harpenden have a legitimate expectation that the Council will not introduce new parking restrictions which cause parking problems and road safety issues in the roads where they live. Therefore, before any new parking restrictions are introduced which may have that effect, the Council must notify and consult fully with all the residents in roads which could be affected, not just those where the restrictions will actually be imposed. As is explained above, the Council has failed to do this.
In addition, it should be noted that in the response form that the Council has distributed to certain roads in Harpenden, the Council is effectively conducting a poll as the form invites respondees to tick a box, ‘yes’ or ‘no’, to say whether they agree with the Proposed Scheme. The Council has, however, only distributed this form to the roads which are currently the focus of all-day commuter parking. One could infer that residents in those roads would be more inclined to tick the ‘yes’ box as the Proposed Scheme is designed to move the all-day commuter parking out of their roads. The Council has, however, not distributed this form to the roads into which the all-day commuter parking will be displaced. One could infer that residents in those roads would be more likely to tick the ‘no’ box as their immediate environment would undoubtedly suffer if the Proposed Scheme were introduced in its current form.
As noted above, in its email of 23rd February 2016, the Council claims that its consultation is available on its website and anyone can comment. However, few if any people in Harpenden will spend their time checking the Council’s website to see if it is about to introduce some new parking restrictions which will adversely affect their road. Thus it is clear that notwithstanding the availability of the consultation on the Council’s website, the Council is not consulting fairly on the Proposed Scheme as it has directly canvassed the views of those who are more likely to say ‘yes’ whilst not directly canvassing the views of those who are more likely to say ‘no’. Rigging the ballot in this way in favour of a ‘yes’ vote is not a legitimate basis on which to proceed with the Proposed Scheme.

5. Next steps
In the Q&As attached to its letter of 27th January 2016, the Council states that the possible next steps are “to proceed with the scheme to formal consultation on the legal documents, carry out further consultation or abandon the scheme”.
In light of the myriad defects outlined above, any attempt by the Council to proceed with the Proposed Scheme in its current form would undoubtedly be vulnerable to legal challenge via Judicial Review.
Therefore, the Council only has two options in practice:
(i) to modify the Proposed Scheme so as to provide a total solution to the problem of all-day commuter parking in Harpenden (and not just shift the problem to different roads). Such a total solution would also need to make adequate provision for the people who work in the town (pative solution to this problem (such as the possible adoption of a bye-law which prohibits all-day parking in the town by itinerant commuters, as proposed by another local resident).
Either way, the Council must consult fully and fairly before seeking to proceed with any new parking scheme.

6. Conclusion
In conclusion, Harpenden needs a viable solution to the current and growing problem of all-day parking in the town by itinerant commuters but, in light of the profound defects outlined above, the Council’s Proposed Scheme is not it.


Many thanks for the letter re the above ( received today ) and also for the link to the webpage and good advice re the by law.
I have just added my voice by emailing my comments to John Charlton at SADC.
We can but hope they will see sense – although that is not a commodity in great supply at SADC.
Kind regards


Again not only do I take on board your comments, but I totally agree with them. I would reiterate that as your ward councillor I will be opposing implementation of this proposed scheme. For your information my understanding is that my fellow [Councillor] also shares my views.


Dear Mr Charlton

I am a resident of Moreton Avenue concerned to ensure the Council does not make silly or incorrect decisions about the fast growing and oppressive parking problem in the Avenues.
The proposal has been drawn to my attention by a concerned neighbour. I have now read the consultation papers and my comments presented in the format of your consultation questionnaire are as follows:


1 To allow us to attribute your comments to the right road can you tell us what road you live on: Moreton Avenue
2 Do you agree with the design of the scheme? NO
3 Any further comments on the design of the scheme?

It appears extremely likely that the proposed scheme will move the problem but not solve it. The aim of the scheme is to stop all daily commuter parking and improve road safety but the proposals will not achieve these aims. Commuter parking will simply move to neighbouring streets including Moreton Avenue.
Implementing the proposed scheme will be complicated and expensive and it will create parking difficulties for residents in the scheme area as well as nearby roads outside the scheme area.

A more flexible but strongly enforceable scheme is needed. Residents in the area know which cars are those of their neighbours and which are all day commuters. You should therefore consider changing the town by laws to make Harpenden as a whole a “no commuter parking town”. The wording of the by law would aim to make enforcement simple. For example, “Harpenden is a town in which everyone is limited to 4 hours parking unless a resident of the street in which you park”. Other thoughts to achieve a similar aim should be considered. Having done that, place signs in all the problem streets warning of a fine of £xxx where suspected all day commuter parking activity occurs. Upset residents may then report the suspected offences. Residents would be advised that all suspected parking offences must be reported by 11 am. Parking wardens will be redirected to investigate and take timed photos of the suspected commuter cars. Parking wardens would return after 4 hours and take photos again of all cars still parked and issue fine notices.



It takes time for the council to respond!

However our MP has been very supportive:



We chased the Council in April:




And again in May, this time to the Town Council...



And  Harpenden Town Council promptly responded:




Keep coming back....!



This page has been developed in order to inform Harpenden residents of the Council's Consultation, the effects it will have and to assist in providing an easy means for those residents who have not been consulted, to have their say.  It also suggests a possible better approach to the serious problems envisaged.  In doing this we believe that everything on this page is true and correct but if you should take issue with any part of it - or if any other issues like copyright etc apply, do please contact our webmaster about it.  We shall respond promptly and will take appropriate measures to correct any errors or omissions.

01.03.16, 05.06.16