By Becca Husselbee and Rochelle Hughes
A nurse has been forced to shell out almost £1,000 by council chiefs just to park on her own driveway – despite living in the house for 12 years.
Helen Maloney, 53, had to pay £800 to have a dropped kerb installed outside her three bedroom detached home in Southport, Merseyside after she was told she couldn’t legally park on the drive due to it being just 5cm too high.
Helen had lived in the house for 12 years before she was made aware of the obscure bylaw claiming ‘no suitable vehicle crossing’ had been constructed outside the home because of the tiny kerb.
The mum-of-one, who split the £1,600 total bill with her next door neighbour, said she was stunned to receive the letter from Sefton Council last summer and initially thought it was a late April Fool’s Day joke.
Helen said: “We were puzzled when we received the letter because it came out of nowhere.
“At first, I thought someone was having me on or trying to scam me. I checked the date on the letter as I thought it must have been a late April Fool’s.
“It seemed so strange to me because I had been going in and out of the drive for nearly 13 years and nothing was ever said.
“It wasn’t particularly a problem to get in and out of my drive.
“I don’t know what I’d suggest to other homeowners in my position. I was fine for 12 years and then this came out of nowhere.”
Helen and her neighbour were forced to use a Highways-approved worker to drop the kerb in order to make her driveway legal.
The letter she received stated ‘no suitable vehicle crossing’ had been constructed outside of her house and said the council would charge her £1,000 for the cost if it was not done.
Helen added: “I was initially going to fight it but I just thought I’d get it sorted.
“I looked into the consequences and decided I really didn’t want the hassle.
“I got it done myself because otherwise the council would have done it and I would have had to fully recover the cost.
“My neighbour and I decided to share a worker to get it done cheaper.
“The only good thing to come out of having the kerb done is that it’s smoother to get in now.”
Sefton Council’s website advises you do not need planning permission for a dropped kerb but states residents should check if the property is a listed building, flat, maisonette or commercial premises, or has frontage directly onto a classified road.
A spokesman added: “The continuous driving over pavements can lead to the damage of a footway creating uneven surfaces which can also lead to trip hazards.
“In this instance the footway outside the property has not been dropped and we have written to the home owner informing them of this while asking them to take the necessary corrective action.
“This resident has since been in touch with us with the view of resolving the matter and we await further contact with her.”