Southwark Council has revealed that it is using traffic wardens to deliver parking permits door-to-door because the Royal Mail service in SE1 and SE16 is so unreliable.
South Bermondsey ward councillor Graham Neale tabled a question to the cabinet member for transport, environment and recycling, Cllr Barrie Hargrove, after problems with obtaining parking permits by post were discussed on the London SE1 forum.
"Given the parlous state of our postal delivery in SE1/SE16, was it a good idea to remove the option to buy parking permits over the counter and rely on the post office to deliver bought and paid-for permits?" asked Cllr Neale.
Cllr Hargrove replied: "The ability to order permits online or over the phone has been an improvement in service and delivered significant savings to the council.
"However, the parking service is aware of the delays with the delivery of first class post particularly in the SE1 and SE16 areas and regrets any inconvenience caused.
"Appeals against parking tickets received as a result are being dealt with sympathetically.
"As a result of the problem permits are now being couriered to Southwark from our contractor's base in Uxbridge.
"Visitor permits are then delivered by hand by the civil enforcement officers on the beat.
"We are currently looking at expanding this service to include residents' permits."
Speaking after Wednesday night's council assembly meeting, Cllr Graham Neale said: "I am worried that the use of couriers is just an expensive bodge.
"Permits could be emailed for successful applicants to print out, possibly with bar codes, to be read by parking attendants' scanners.
"Fraudulent use could be checked by real time monitoring. Successful permit applicants should be allowed to park straight away.
"I wonder why this hasn't been thought through; most of London is parking controlled. It's not beyond the wit of man to sort this out properly."