Saturday, 11 September 2010

Southwark Council - the pride of London

I dread this time of year. As the beginning of September looms, I have to grit my teeth and prepare to do battle - yes, it's the time of year I have to renew our parking permit. Never, in the whole history of the world, has anything been as problematic and traumatic on such a regular basis. 

The timing is crucial. The MOT has to be complete and the insurance validated for another year - only then can you apply for the permit. But these documents alone aren't enough. Oh no. I've learnt from past experience. No matter what you take, it's not enough. This year, I took:
  • My birth certificate
  • My marriage certificate (because, despite several letters to the council, they have failed to update our records to reflect my married name)
  • My passport
  • My driving licence
  • The log book for the car
  • My council tax book
After making the submission, I waited with bated breath for the inevitable call. Yesterday, it comes. "Hello, it's Michelle from the One Stop Shop. (I'd also like to point out there's nothing 'one stop' about it. You have to visit two sites to get parking permits - surely defeating the whole purpose of the name. But I digress.) Unfortunately, your log book shows the car is registered somewhere else, so we can't process your application. Sorry about that."

Every year, it's the same. Every year, I give them the previous year's permit number, to prove that they can, in fact, give out a permit for a company car, providing the insurance is in my name. Every year, they won't process it without a fight. And it's inspired. You can't call the very helpful One Stop Shop - you have to go in (open 9.30 until 4.30 - very helpful. I may actually apply for a job here, because it's the best working hours for employees I've come across). And even then, it's a total bloody nightmare. I have yet to obtain a parking permit without at least three separate trips to the One Stop Shop. One Stop my eye. 

There is only one solution to this problem. We have to move. Seriously, we had better not be in Southwark by next September. I have officially reached the end of the road with this process.

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