29 May 2013

Saracens (Copthall) Event Day CPZ - Confused Parking Zone

In the space of 10 days Mr Mustard has been consulted about 4 parking tickets given to 3 residents who live within the Event Day CPZ and didn't apply for an Event Day permit because they already had a Resident Permit.

In his operational guidance the Secretary of State wrote "motorists cannot reasonably be expected to read, understand and remember the parking restrictions at the entrance to a Controlled Parking Zone that covers an area of more than a dozen streets."

So, how extensive is the Saracens CPZ? Here is a plan of it.

From Stanhope Gardens in the NW of the zone, to Garrick Way in the south of it, is a distance of 2.5 miles. This is self evidently not an area of about a dozen streets but a blatant disregard of the guidance for a CPZ zone. Every vehicle owner within the red dotted boundary needs an ED permit (ED stands for Event Day). They are free as Saracens pay for them and for up to 88 visitor vouchers each year to cover the 16 match days + 2 other days. (You are allowed 4.8 visitors per day. Mr Mustard doesn't suppose there is any rule that stops you providing them as gifts to your rugby loving friends who want to go to a match).

Why is it that a number of residents, out of the 7,500 who are estimated to live within the zone, have not realised they need to have at least 1 and possibly 2 permits in their car. Mr Mustard doesn't know the full extent of the communications with affected residents but he does have the information sent out in November 12. Here is the envelope that the letter was in.

Mr Mustard can imagine how this landed in amongst pizza leaflets and other junk mail and got thrown away. It is 2013 and databases abound everywhere. Surely it wouldn't have been that hard a job to run a search of the existing CPZ permit holders and the council tax payers within the affected roads and then write personally addressed letters?

According to the Delegated Powers Report concerning this CPZ, there are about 7,500 residences within the zone (although a recent FOI said 9,000 and if you are wondering why Mr Mustard asked a question he knew the answer to the answer is he hadn't stumbled upon the 7,500 at the time he asked).

Here is the letter that was inside The Occupier envelope

Having read the whole two pages Mr Mustard concludes it is not the best bit of writing that Mr Richardson has ever issued (he is a helpful officer and probably pretty pressed so let us not be hard on him but instead be lenient on those who make an error) and he may not have actually written it. In an attempt to be thorough there is a lot of information but, like Craig Cooper's statement to the High Court on the NSCSO Judicial Review which the judge gave a kicking for being unhelpfully laid out, this letter suffers from a lack of headings and structure. The information would have been much better presented in a booklet with pages headed Why, Where, When, How to apply, Costs etc

What doesn't this letter say?

The zone is labelled the ED zone.

Even if you have a residents permit for, say, zone E, you need another one, issued free, for zone ED.

What it does say, and what has probably led many people astray is: 

"Any person wishing to park on roads within the CPZ when an event is taking place will need to display either a residents permit or a visitor voucher in their vehicle."

which means that a resident with a zone E permit might not have read any further as they did have "a residents permit". This would be one of Mr Mustard's defences to a parking ticket.

How many people have already obtained an ED permit? Only 3,449 so possibly 4,000 people are at risk of a parking ticket.

If you know anyone inside this monster CPZ zone please ask them if they have a free ED permit so that they are not at risk of getting a PCN (if you are unlucky enough to get one please ask Mr Mustard for help. He is building up a lot of expertise in appealing). If they need a permit they can apply on-line here or telephone 020 8359 7446.

Don't be shy to ask for visitor vouchers either. 269,743 have been issued so far. They are free.

Maybe the council should now follow up by putting an explanatory leaflet on every car found in breach on an Event Day rather than a PCN?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Motto: Don't get caught; if you get caught - appeal!


  1. Can we please have a list of dates on which there are Events ?

  2. The best bet is to keep an eye on the Saracens website

  3. No reminders to renew resident permit sent so i was fined as was my partner's car. I told the parking official as i saw he had stopped by my car but even though he could see the resident permit that had expired a week ago he fined me and my partner. I did eventually successfully appeal which was just a total waste of everyone's time. Our cars are already registered with the council for resident permits and displayed resident permits so why can the parking system and official acknowledge and respect that??? Oh, of course - that would rob them of a way of squeezing money out of us. How can a fine of £60 be justified anyway? If you pay the quick £30 you then lose the right of appeal as you have admitted fault. Easy money for the parking company. The system is stacked in favour of the parking company to take large amounts of money from us.
    A friend visiting me placed a permit for the saturday as listed on the printed event calender we received. However there was also an event on the sunday which was not listed and he was fined £110. He had phoned the hotline on the event signposts and it was a month out of date with none of the event days for May recorded in May when he was fined. Also there is no official list of permit days - the saracens website event days list is not that easy to find amongst all the other saracens commercial pages and sites and when you do eventually come across it, it does not stipulate which days require permits and lists both home and away matches together in one list for which permits are not required. THER IS NO LIST OF EVENT DATES REQUIRING PERMITS ONLINE. There is a note that dates can be changed and the list updated from time to time: when? how often? So how often do we have to check the site and deduce from all these events which are the ones requiring permits??? This assumes everyone has internet access and checks online regularly and can work out from all the events listed which dates require permits and knows when the dates are going to be changed or added. Really??!!
    This is unaccepteable. Saracens and the Council have set up an opaque system that allows the parking company to place a variety of obstacles in the way of residents having adequate information about the required permit display for event days, the fines are extortionate and the appeals should be processed by someone independent. The system is a charade and a farce and the council are turning a blind eye to it as they and the parking company are no doubt making a profit from the lack of appropriate information and deliberate misinformation they are delivering.
    And you guessed it - my friends appeal has been rejected.
    I suggest:
    1. Parking officials have access to council list of residents' cars that are registered so that late renewal does not incur a fine.
    2. Council send out timely renewals by post and email to residents to renew permits but are not fined for late renewals.
    This is not too much to ask and requires minimal effort and the basis of this whole system was supposed to be that saracens would fund the scheme so it will not cost the residents anything. However the problem is that making the system transparent, user-friendly even and providing the correct information in a timely, accessible fashion to residents about event dates and reducing the ways to fine them even though they have registered their vehicles would reduce the revenue from fines and profits that the parking company can make. The council should sort this out in the way i have suggested and honour their obligation to ensure a fair and reasonable system that is easy to comply with is in place.
    Mr A.W. (Resident in saracens controlled parking zone.)

  4. You get 3 chances to challenge a PCN placed on your vehicle.

    If your friend has not yet paid up ask him/her to email the details to mrmustard@zoho.com as I have not yet lost in the Saracens Zone

  5. Thank you, i will ask him to get in touch with you.
    Mr A. W.


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