2 September 2015

Havant a heart

Those not very clear yellow marks across the kerb mean no unloading and hence no blue badge parking. There was one in this car.

The story concerns Angelica and Alan (the names have been changed although Mr Mustard has a picture of 'Alan' lying serenely on his hospice bed, which he has permission to use, but has decided not to) and Angelica found Mr Mustard after his repeat TV performance on Parking Mad and this is what she wrote:

Hi Mr Mustard,

I saw your programme last night and I think you're doing a brilliant job.

If you have the time I wonder if you could give me some advice. I know you mostly deal with Barnet and I'm in Havant, Hampshire.

I'll try and keep it brief.

I do voluntary work at our local hospice, mostly on the wards but I do also visit the terminally ill in their homes. On this occasion my 'client' was having a good day and wanted to go to Specsavers to sort out his glasses. At that time he was using a zimmer frame but was very slow and had to keep stopping for breath. He has a disabled badge and so I parked on double yellow lines as near to Specsavers as I could. We were gone approximately half an hour. When I got back to the car I saw I had a ticket and the warden was just walking away. When I approached him he said I was parked in a no loading area. I had seen the white lines and sign for the loading zone but had parked a few yards away on the yellow lines. I didn't realise that the double yellow lines on the kerbstones also denoted a no loading area. I explained the situation and by that time Alan had caught me up, whereupon he also explained that he was terminally ill. He was quite upset and stressed by the situation. The warden could see how ill Alan was but said that he couldn't rescind the ticket. He said I should have read the disabled manual and I explained I didn't have one as the disabled badge was Alan's.  He did say he would go into the office the next day and explain the situation, I thought this was a good sign. He also said the conversation was being recorded.

I challenged the parking ticket on compassionate grounds explaining the situation. Alan's family also wrote in. I had a letter saying my appeal had been rejected. I then waited for the Notice to Owner and explained the situation again as they had said as I was a driver for the hospice I should know the rules. I explained I wasn't a driver for the hospice, just a voluntary worker. Again the appeal was rejected.

I was just going to give up and pay up as technically I was in the wrong, until I saw the TV programme last night.

My question is, do you think I should take it to the Tribunal? In some ways if I just paid up it would be the end of the matter and I could forget about it but part of me feels aggrieved at the callousness of the council. It's not about the money.

I would be most grateful for your advice.

King regards


Mr Mustard was amazed, but shouldn't be, at the robotic response of the traffic warden; surely we can train them to be more human than this? A man has stood in front of you and told you he is about to die and you want to tell their driver they should have read a Rights & Responsibilities booklet they have never seen.

The Notice of Rejection is also pretty awful. It says "I am unable to cancel this PCN..." which is a patent lie. A council can cancel any PCN for any reason at any time even if it is 100% correct.

Mr Mustard's advice was clear:

1.  The kerb marks may not be clear enough to be considered as substantially compliant.

2.  The Unable to Cancel statement is untrue.

3.  The council have failed to properly exercise their discretion as they are required to do. They have to at least think, "this person had terrible medical problems, should we be nice and cancel even though technically we think the PCN was correct"? Councils misdirect themselves all the time about this and when asked for a goodwill cancellation they focus instead on the technical merits.

For Mr Mustard the decision is an easy one. Once you have a Notice of Rejection and Tribunal Appeal Form you fill it in and post it off straightaway as the, in this case, £70 PCN does not get any worse. If you win at the tribunal you save £70. If you lose at the tribunal you pay the £70 you would have had to pay if you had not completed the Appeal form. The council have to pay a fee to the tribunal for the Appeal process and the more of those they have to pay the harder they might think about things.

Mr Mustard has submitted the Appeal form which Havant Council have now had on their desk for 10 days. They have not yet cancelled the PCN so it looks like they plan to contest the Appeal. Mr Mustard has his motor running ready for the trip to Southampton (Angelica has equally offered to pop to London for the hearing).

The final words are Angelica's:

Just an update for you. Sadly Alan passed away on Saturday. I was in doing ward duties yesterday and saw his name on the list.

I had visited him on Thursday but didn't stay long as I could see he wasn't up for visiting.  Just a few days before he had been in good spirits and was talking about the 'Parking case'.  Your comment about 'Havant a Heart Council' made him chuckle.

Yours very sadly

Mr Mustard

Update 9 September 2015

The Traffic Penalty Tribunal have written to say that "The council has decided not to contest this appeal". Looking at it further Havant BC issue PCN as agents of  Hampshire County Council (who did read this blog entry) and so which one of them made the good and bad decisions will never be known. This is a tale of persistence though on the part of Angelica because had she not seen Mr Mustard on the TV she would have meekly paid up and councils bully people because that is the usual outcome. It is not the outcome when Mr Mustard is involved, it will be a fight to the end, with him coming out the winner more often than not. Local authorities take note.

1 comment:

  1. I think the title "Dessicated calculating machine" would suit Havant Parking Department very well.


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