25 March 2018

Cancerlation - no chance.

Mr Mustard is a busy man working full time and fighting councils PCNs in his 'spare' time. He gets tired just like anyone else who works hard but what keeps him going is helping people less fortunate than himself. A Mr Mustard shouldn't, in a civilised society, be necessary, but parking departments have gone so far down the raising revenue at all costs route that they have lost sight of humanity and need someone to tug on their chain, hard, and use the oxygen of bad publicity to try and make them change their ways.

This next decision of the tribunal isn't of a case that Mr Mustard dealt with but it makes him sick to his core of council parking departments. This heartless decision was by Barnet Council.

The vehicle belonged to Motability so we know that the motorist is physically disabled.

The appellant appeared before me today accompanied by Redacted, both of whom made submissions.

The contravention alleged in these proceedings was that this vehicle was parked in a disabled badge holders bay without displaying a valid disabled badge.

There was no dispute that an expired disabled badge was on display in the vehicle.

The appellant gave evidence as to her serious medical condition she living with cancer and other disabilities it being clear from her appearance that she was very unwell.

I accepted that although the appellant had intended renewing her badge she had overlooked that renewal due to the very serious health issues she was experiencing at the time together with a family bereavement.

I noted that her renewed badge was valid from 19-12-17 she not receiving it until 05-01-18. (The PCN was dated 7 December 2017)

I was satisfied that the contravention had occurred and acknowledged that the council had cancelled a previous penalty charge incurred by the appellant's vehicle on the ground of 'first time cancellation' but I was satisfied given the appellant's personal mitigation that this was on appeal a suitable case for the exercise of the council's discretion and I would invite it to cancel this PCN.

Why doesn't the council think that someone living with cancer, who is visibly ill, doesn't merit a second PCN cancellation. Is that just one mistake you are allowed in your lifetime, or one a year? We should be told.

Would any reasonable person not just cancel a PCN for someone who qualifies for a blue badge but doesn't put it on display for whatever reason, given that if they did, they would qualify for free parking.

Are cancer sufferers just a source of revenue for Barnet Council? Yes, they are.

No criticism can be made of the Adjudicator. Their legally defined role is to decide if a contravention has occurred or not. They will always do their best to find a legal escape route in deserving cases but in this one they did not have one available.

The exercise of discretion, or mitigation, rests entirely in a council's hands. They are so blinkered in parking departments as to whether or not a contravention occurred, and the revenue they raise, that they forget to be human.

Part of the fault for this rests with councillors who delegate too much power to council staff, or 'officers' as they are over grandly titled. Councillors need to set out circumstances in which all PCNs should be cancelled and that should include blue badge holders who forget to put their badge out, who place it upside down, who forget the clock, or who have health problems that cause them to overlook something.

Something in Mr Mustard's brain tells him that PCNs are not issued by Barnet Council until a blue badge has been expired for 14 days, in this case only 10 days had elapsed. It would have been a far better solution to issue a warning PCN for £0.00 which would have alerted the badge holder to the problem and prompted them to renew their badge.

Councillors are going to be knocking on your doors asking for your vote. Ask them what they are going to do to make PCNs less about revenue generation and to make the borough a nicer place in which to live without fear of miserable penalties.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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