4 September 2013

Saracens - takings on 31 August were £22,165

A motorist and resident's view of Barnet Council and the Saracens Event Day (ED) zone

Back in May, Mr Mustard suggested the following to the council.

Leaflet motorists rather than ticket them inside the Saracens zone for the next event?

This suggestion seems to have been widely ignored. 

Fast forward to the first match of the season, Mr Mustard doesn't follow rugby and only knew it was on Saturday 31 August 2013 because he made it his business to know and as he actually drove the blogger bus through the zone towards the end of the restricted time. Mr Mustard tried to find out last season's PCN figures for each match day and was rebuffed as having posed a vexatious question (you'll see why in a minute). Another independent requestor asked and was told that 1,289 PCN were issued in the months of February through to May 13 so probably about 150 PCN per match. The conversion rate has ramped up in the new season with traffic wardens tumbling over the try line in an unstoppable manner. There must have been a whole team of them out shimmying up and down the roads looking for local residents who know nothing about rugby or the new zone because the number of parking tickets (PCN) issued on 31 August 2013 was

403, yes 403.

For perspective, the average daily PCN count across the entire borough is 450.

Of those probably 50% will pay up in order to get the 50% discount and so 403 PCN at £110 times 50% is £22,165

If there was a match day every day of the year Barnet Council could gross £8,090,225 in a year out of this zone alone at the discounted rate. As it is with 18 match days they will gross at least £398,970 (some of the people who don't pay at the 50% rate will end up paying at the 100% rate and some at 150% so the final out turn will be more). Last year, PCN income for the whole borough was £5m.

Mr Mustard thinks that greater efforts need to be made to educate those motorists who find themselves within the zone when they should not be, and residents, businesses and charities can get free permits and vouchers for their visitors. His answer would be to put an explanatory leaflet on every car on the next match day rather than a PCN. One resident described Barnet Council to the Transport Select Committee as "venal and rapacious" and this does not seem wide of the mark.

Until the £7m which the Special Parking Account is budgeted to make in a year is moderated down to a mere £million or so this is the sort of behaviour we are going to have to put up with.

You can of course fight back. Barnet Council are struggling with the PCN for this zone which reach PATAS. Download yourself a copy of my appeal guide which is on the top left of the page. Here is your appeal.

1 - I did not know it was an "event day", please provide proof by way of a Traffic Management Order that it was.

2 - I saw no signs showing that it was an Event Day. Please provide contemporaneous proof that there were the necessary signs in place to cover my car's location and all approach roads and that they are either standard signs from the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 or that they have been approved by the Secretary of State and provide a copy of the relevant authorisation and indicate which sign letter or letters you are relying on.

You can use this same argument at both the informal (after the PCN i.e. now) and formal (after the Notice to Owner) stages and then appeal to PATAS. You can easily do the informal and formal appeals yourself and once you get the Notice of Rejection Mr Mustard will gladly take over for you.

Take no notice of any tosh that NSL, on behalf of the council, tell you about the onus being on you to check the council or Saracen's website. If you were to drive from, say, Inverness to Barnet you are not expected to check the website of every council, rugby, football, cricket etc club that you are going to pass by. Local signage should clearly demonstrate the applicable restrictions. Mr Mustard happens to know that some of it is wrong.

So get writing to that PO Box in Worthing or emailing ( barnet@nslservices.co.uk ) and stick your appeal in now. The first PCN has been appealed. Can we get another 402 in?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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