19 May 2014

NSL = No Stamps Licked?

Mr Mustard was out on Saturday morning and the postman left him one of those lovely little postcards that says "please pay us £1.53 if you ever want to see your post alive again" or something like that.

Mr Mustard thought that he had better go to the Royal Mail depot at Longmore Avenue to collect whatever the item was.

When Mr Mustard saw the envelope he thought it was suspiciously like the usual Barnet Council parking envelope and to his surprise it was. This was the (redacted) letter that it contained.

Now for some background. Last month Mr Mustard accepted instructions for a PCN for which an informal challenge had already been made. The legislation says that you can make representations, plural, before the Notice to Owner is issued. Mr Mustard had some new ones that the motorist hadn't thought of and so he sent them in. Barnet Council parking enforcement (NSL), in the unhelpful manner of parking departments nearly everywhere, refused point blank to consider them. Mr Mustard will be claiming this is a procedural impropriety once he reaches PATAS and relying on the Hackney Drivers Association Ltd legal case.

The other point that Mr Mustard will make about his informal challenge is that the Statutory Guidance of the Secretary of State, which councils are obliged to have regard to, says "It is in the interests of the authority and of the motorist to resolve any dispute at the earliest possible stage. Authorities...should always give challenges and representations a fresh and impartial consideration" (Councils are partial to income so that is a big ask). Mr Mustard will let you know what happens when this argument gets a proper airing.

The letter itself is down to the usual dire standard. Mr Mustard sent an email, not a letter. The council do not refer to the date of that email nor does the line conclude "of 21 April 14" which would read much more nicely. 

The word "investigaet" is not one he understands.

"the PCN as issued correctly" also rather loses him.

This is the first communication from the council to Mr Mustard about this PCN so he has not previously been advised of anything. Mr Mustard thinks it should be "wished" not "wish" as the letter is talking about a date in the past.

The refusal to consider "further correspondence" "at this stage" (without this stage being defined) is an attempt to fetter Mr Mustard's client's rights which is outside the spirit, if not the letter, of PCN law.

Finally, the letter is dated 7 May 14 but was only received at Longmore Avenue sorting office on 16 May 14. That isn't serious on this occasion but Mr Mustard wonders if other formal Notices have been similarly delayed or posted without the due postage being paid for. All Notices should be sent by first class post. They should also be posted on the same day as they are dated.

Mr Mustard will be making formal representations in due course and then filing an Appeal with PATAS if the representations get rejected, as they so often do.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. I hope you will claim for the £1.53 as well. But we must consider that perhaps Barnet is trying to save on postage so they can afford to send their employees on a literacy course.


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