Except in the case of emergency works a notice period should be given by SC allowing people to move their cars if necessary to a suitable parking bay. Even if there is an emergency and the bay is suspended I think it is not within SC's remit to necessarily charge a driver if that person had no way of dealing with the situation in a timely manner. I am sure there must be an appeals process for this.
If it was for a planned event then SC have no right to charge if they did not give sufficient notification of the suspension.
Part of my motivation was that the signage on residents and permit bays in and around Bermondsey St was (maybe still is) confusing. I also took the time to spray the bay details on the roadway. Maybe its time for some more direct action? All you need is a ground marker spray can, two bricks, a piece of string, some chalk and some determination
Always remember that parking tickets are a very easy source of revenue for all local authorities. The statistics when you challenge a parking ticket is that 90% are cancelled. The problem is that you have to put time and effort into the challenge and, ultimately, take time off work to attend the tribunal in Haymarket. Local authorities know that most people are just too busy and will, most likely, pay the fine.
I, embarrasingly enough, work in parking (for another London borough) and it's true what they say - you are supposed to check your car each day. As for holidays I think that they would be fairly lenient as long as you can prove you were away (I have a car too!)
Councils do usually have a customer charter document where they say they'll give 2 weeks notice and they usually do give this notice period because they have to. The police and water/ gas/ electricity companies can suspend without notice. Vehicles will usually be relocated and registered with Trace (020 7747 4747) or see http://www.londoncouncils.gov.uk/doc.asp?doc=6532.