9 May 2012

A mis-kicked penalty

a Coleman model scout hut; best days behind it
Mr Mustard grew up in a time when, if you were naughty, you got a clip round the ear (some might think he used to climb chimneys but he has vertigo so that wouldn't have been an option). If you had brothers and sisters you also sometimes got the blame for something you didn't do and would then be told that the earlier punishment was for next time.

Something similar happened in Stanford Rd, N11 3HX on May 3rd. An Anyone But Coleman supporter, also part of the Save Friern Barnet Library campaign, parked her car (less us call her Ms FB for short) at the bottom of Stanford Rd near the Scout Hut which was doubling, for the day, as the Polling Station. 

Slightly naughty Ms FB had put ABC posters in her car windows to help sway any last minute floating voters. There is apparently some election law (if anyone knows the exact details please send them to Mr Mustard) that prohibits election posters in the vicinity of a Polling Station. At one of his talks non-stick Nick Walkley, who gets paid thousands of pounds to be the returning officer (on top of his £200,976p.a.), said that meant 50m and at another he said 250m. There is probably some case law which covers this.

The car came to the attention of the returning officer, or his team (It is not known if this vehicle came to the attention of Nick or not) but suddenly there was a PCSO next to the car, lots of arm waving and pointing and talking into mobile telephones. The upshot, as Ms FB was nowhere to be seen, was that the PCSO issued a Penalty Charge Notice. Was it for the offence of the posters? No, it was for parking across a dropped kerb. So Ms FB got belted but not for the offence which was bothering the returning officer (or his team).

Here is a photograph of the allegedly dropped kerb 

the drop is only one kerb stone wide and a half hearted bit of work

seen from the side it isn't obvious at all.
The above photographs were taken on Saturday during the pop-up library hours of 11am to 1pm and someone else's car was parked across the drop which leads to a short length of cycle path (you could look at the area using streetview, postcode N11 3HX). Ms FB has lived in the area for many years and has never ever seen a PCN issued for that offence. On Saturday the transgressing car did not have a parking ticket.

The existence of the (partially) dropped kerb is not obvious. Further up the road an obviously dropped kerb is marked with a white line:

a front garden ruined but a nice white line
Once non-stick Nick Walkley reads this blog post this is what he should do:
  • tell his staff / himself not to issue penalties for the wrong offence
  • paint a white line at the partially dropped kerb near the scout hut
  • drop the kerb properly so it reaches the level of the road and widen the drop to cover the pedestrian section as well as for cyclists
  • repair the pavement there.
Mr Mustard will put in an FOI request for the number of PCNs issued in that road for that offence for the last year. Predicted answer, One, the ticket of Ms FB.

Ms FB will send in an informal appeal and then a formal appeal. Word has reached Mr Mustard that the parking service is already in disarray following the transfer to NSL with a number of cases that had reached PATAS being abandoned as the back office staff have all been put on gardening leave so can't action the necessary paperwork. If you have a parking ticket, appeal it.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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