There was no time for reporting on Council meetings yesterday and it will be
the same today so to substitute here is a quick tale of woe which Bexley Council could very
easily sort out but those who might like to do so are hidebound by rules.
A lady of my acquaintance until recently lived for many years with her disabled husband in a privately rented flat not far from me and close to St. Augustine’s Church in Belvedere. She earns next to nothing from a very part-time job.
Her landlady wanted her out in order to sell the flat but few landlords are willing to take on tenants whose income largely relies on state handouts. I saw a sympathetic letter from the letting agent confirming that she was their only long term client who had never defaulted on a single payment but apologising that they still couldn’t help her.
Eventually Bexley Council stepped in and found her a flat in Gravesend which came with a parking space for a car which is essential for her husband to get around.
Unfortunately the landlord had not only let the flat and parking spot to Bexley Council he had separately let the parking bay to a Gravesend commuter too. There is no unrestricted street parking because the flat is too close to the railway station.
The displaced lady immediately applied to Gravesend Council for a resident’s parking permit to circumvent the problem that Bexley Council had unwittingly caused but was refused on the grounds that they don’t issue them to people who already have off street parking which on paper at least she has.
Her husband who gets a disability allowance from the government has been too proud to ask for a Blue Badge and in Belvedere he didn’t need one. The waiting list for a Blue Badge is long. Meanwhile as of last week Gravesend Council had dished out ten parking tickets.
This is something that a responsive Council could sort out in an instant and at the lower levels in Bexley Council some sympathy has been on display but despite it being Bexley Council that is effectively swindled by an apparently rogue landlord no one at the right level has the gumption to have a word with Gravesend Council to sort something out in the short term. If it is not sorted we will all know that Bexley Council is the uncaring, vindictive, money-grabbing organisation that many think it is.
Meanwhile a lady through no direct fault of her own is incurring hundreds of pounds a week in penalty charges.