24 June 2013

Crossovers - crossed wires

Back in February 2013, Mr Mustard asked Barnet Council about the issue of parking tickets at crossovers (outside of CPZ areas) where the home owner had not asked for an attendance by a traffic warden, viz:

Are PCNs being routinely issued at dropped kerbs outside residential premises or only in response to a request from the occupier?

The answer he got was:

After some reiteration to NSL months ago I am not aware of recent problems where PCN's are being routinely issued at dropped kerbs outside single residential properties without a call or face to face request for help from those resident at the property.

What this response told Mr Mustard was that NSL were running riot at the start of the contract and supposedly aren't any longer. Hmmm.

Now let us look at a decision by the independent adjudicator at PATAS of 8 March.

The appellant denies the contravention. She states that she parked alongside the dropped kerb in front of her own driveway for the purposes of loading and unloading and therefore falls within the exceptions provided by the Traffic Management Act 2004 S.86(3) and S.86(5.

The local authority have not addressed these representations but incorrectly state that it is still a contravention to park outside their own driveway in direct contradiction to the legislation which require a complaint to be made by the owner of the residential premises.

I am therefore not satisfied that the contravention did occur and allow this appeal. If the appellant wishes to pursue a claim for costs she should send in an itemised note of the time and disbursements incurred in defending this appeal.

Costs were considered on 18 June and the adjudicator said:

The appellant has now applied for an order for costs and expenses to be made against the local authority on the basis that their conduct in failing to address her representations or the legislation to be "extremely unreasonable"

Under Regulation 12 of the Road Traffic (Parking Adjudicators) (London) Regulations 1993 it is provided that an Adjudicator shall not normally make an order awarding costs and expenses but may, subject to hearing representations from the party, make such an order against that party if he is of the opinion that the party has acted frivolously or vexatiously or that his conduct in making, pursuing or resisting an appeal was wholly unreasonable. Additionally, an order may be made against the local authority where the Adjudicator considers that the disputed decision, (the decision by the local authority to reject the appellant's representations), was wholly unreasonable.

I find the local authority complete lack of even an attempt at addressing the appellant's representations or checking the legislation despite being placed on Notice by the appellant, and in clear breach of their statutory duty, makes the disputed decision wholly unreasonable.

The local authority have not made any representation as to why a costs award should not be made.

I therefore award the appellant costs in the sum of £62.15 made up as follows:

1) £60.00 for time spent in excess of 5 hours which would be the maximum amount a litigant in person would be able to recover in the Small Claims Court under the Civil Procedure Rules.
2) £2.15 disbursements for the cost of a stamp and recorded delivery.

So now you wonder why the case was allowed to go all the way to PATAS at the very time that Mr Mustard was asking about this problem and why the council don't know as much about the tricks that NSL get up to as Mr Mustard does? The council have wasted £44 of your money on an unnecessary hearing and then had to fork out £62 on the expenses of the resident.

One day, one hopes, the council will become sensible and boring and exhibit some common-sense. Until then, Mr Mustard will keep an eye on them.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

2 caveats

1. Inside a CPZ there will probably be a single yellow across your dropped kerb so even the householder cannot park there during the zone hours. Sometimes there will be a parking bay across your dropped kerb which means, Mr Mustard thinks but this is a complicated area, that the householder could park across their own dropped kerb but no-one else should as a question of courtesy although you could argue you have explicit permission to do so during zone hours.

2. If you have a shared drive neither resident can park across the dropped kerb as it has to be left for access by the other neighbour at all times.

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