20 October 2016

Waltham Forest don't see the wood for the trees

Mr Mustard's client was trying to park in a shared use bay so he could pay to park. A skip was in the way. He drove past it and parked. He didn't notice that he was now in a bay for residents.

A traffic warden wandered along. He issued a PCN for being in a shared use bay, viz:

Parked in a residents' or shared use parking place or zone without either clearly displaying a valid permit or voucher or pay and display ticket issued for that place, or without payment of the parking charge (shared use bay).

Mr Mustard made an informal challenge (the name given to what you firstly argue against the issue of the PCN to a vehicle) as follows:

The PCN states I was in a shared use bay.

I was parked in a residents' bay.

The contravention did not occur.

This was a slam dunk challenge, except in Waltham Forest. If you get it wrong they are merciless but if they get it wrong, they haven't!

Oh please. The PCN has in brackets at the end of the standard contravention wording 'shared use bay' so the die is cast. Waltham Forest have opted to issue a PCN for the contravention of being in a shared use bay.

If instead they want to renege on that choice they have a separate problem. A PCN must state:

The grounds on which the civil enforcement officer serving the notice believes that a penalty charge is payable; and a choice of contraventions is not the grounds (there are plenty of PATAS decisions which are persuasive in support of Mr Mustard's viewpoint)

Heads Mr Mustard wins. Tails you lose Waltham Forest.

The council are also forgetting their duty to be procedurally fair. By stretching the PCN description to breaking point, they certainly are not being fair. They will tell you anything to try and get you to pay a PCN. Mr Mustard's client certainly does not want to pay them the 50% they so generously offered to accept when they are 100% in the wrong, he will take his chances at the tribunal in due course which will cost the council £30 in tribunal fees.

One day, perhaps, councils will realise that you can't bluff Mr Mustard. Until then, they will burn fees
Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 21 October

Today, Barnet Council received an informal email from Mr Mustard to a member of the management team pointing out a process error of the same type as above. A 12S PCN issued when 12R was applicable. No ifs no buts, no rollocks about what words mean, but a simple cancellation and a helpful, thankful, apologetic email after 1h and 44m. That's the way to do it. All parties save time and the council don't waste a £30 tribunal fee. Come on WF.

1 comment:

  1. Venal and rapacious. Are there any better words to describe London councils ? I can't think of any.


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