Fury over parking fine after the council temporarily changed the rules on Kensington Rd
A Kensington resident is fighting an “unfair” parking fine after the City of Melbourne temporarily changed its parking restrictions on Kensington Rd while conducting footpath works.
Grant Edgcumbe was dumbfounded when he found a ticket on his car just before midday on August 27 despite having a residential parking permit clearly visible on his dashboard.
“I parked my car on the northern side of Kensington Rd, which I do every Saturday morning”, he said. “An hour or two later I went out to the car to find a parking fine for $189 and the parking officer standing there.”
After making enquiries, Mr Edgcumbe was told the signed parking rules had been changed the night before and that residential parking permits no longer applied at the time. However, the measure was only in place for a period of about 72 hours while the council carried out footpath works before reverting the parking restrictions to normal, he said.
Mr Edgcumbe, a vicar at the Holy Trinity Anglican Church in East Melbourne said he felt extremely angry about the whole situation, which he labelled as “sneaky and dishonest” conduct by the council.
“There was no notification of this change given,” he said. “The thing that stings me and the other residents who were fined is whenever we phone to complain about the cars parked without obvious permits displayed, no-one is ever available.”
“What an amazing coincidence that only hours after the signs being changed, we have a parking officer on the spot enthusiastically fining several of us.”
Mr Edgcumbe has objected to the parking fine, which the City of Melbourne told him it was reviewing.
The council confirmed that temporary no-stopping restrictions had recently been installed on Kensington Rd between Epsom Rd and Derby St while kerb and footpath works were carried out.
“The contractor was given a reserved parking permit to assist them in managing the site and carrying out the essential works,” the council said. “The conditions of use for residential parking permits explain that resident permits are not valid for use in no-stopping areas.”
“Drivers who receive an infringement notice can request an infringement review via the City of Melbourne website.”
Kensington Association chair Simon Harvey said between the amount of parking and speeding fines being issued to motorists along Kensington Rd, he was becoming “a bit fed up” with what appeared to be “blatant revenue raising”.
He said while he wasn’t privy to the details of Mr Edgcumbe’s experience, he believed the concerns of residents must be heard.
“If somebody makes a legitimate complaint and doesn’t hear anything or is fobbed off or pushed down the line, it’s doing nothing for the trust that residents have with the processes that exist in the community,” he said.
His comments follow residents voicing their fury over an “unfair” mobile speed camera along Kensington Rd, which has caught out thousands of unsuspecting drivers due to the poor 50km/h speed limit signage, a concern Mr Harvey also shared.
While the camera is operated by the state government, the City of Melbourne owns Kensington Rd with the responsibility of installing and maintaining speed signs.
Meanwhile, many of the almost 2500 parking fines issued from July 2017, after motorists confused the number 0 with the letter O to pay for a parking space in the CBD, have either been refunded or withdrawn by the City of Melbourne.
Victorian Ombudsman Deborah Glass investigated the matter in which she “found the City of Melbourne acted unfairly in upholding fines against drivers who had paid the correct fee and parked legally but made a simple mistake” after motorists entered their registration in the PayStay app.
However, in a report released in September, Ms Glass said the council had since “responded commendably during and after my investigation”.
“It agreed with our recommendations to reverse the fines issued to the individual motorists, and to implement systemic changes,” Ms Glass said in her report, which was expected to total almost $209,000 in refunds and court costs.
“Many have now been withdrawn and refunded. The remaining affected motorists have until May 2023 to arrange their refund from the council before the money is transferred to the State Revenue Office’s Unclaimed Monies Register.” •
Caption: Kensington resident Grant Edgcumbe is fuming over his “unfair” parking fine.
Photo: Murray Enders.