19 August 2013

Dry cleaner taken to the cleaners by Barnet Council

Go on, give us a parking ticket.

Now it is agreed that you shouldn't park on the pavement anywhere in London but, and it is a big but, there is an exemption for "loading and unloading where there is no other way the delivery or collection could be made" (see the bottom of this London Councils website page).

In the case of this particular dry cleaners the front of the shop is next to a bus stop and zig zags etc and you can't get anywhere near it so using the rear service road (a clue in the name there) is the only answer. The service road is too narrow for a vehicle to park without obstructing the road and so the delivery driver popped the vehicle on the pavement for a few minutes whilst the unloading took place. What can you see in the boot? yes clothes for dry cleaning. This vehicle received a parking ticket for pavement parking. The traffic wardens have their favourite places to go to dish out tickets and this is one of them, a quiet backwater where no-one is causing any traffic flow troubles. Hardly anyone will walk down this service road except for the staff of the shops as it is a cul-de-sac so it is unlikely that parents with prams or others pushing or auto-propelling wheelchairs will be trying to get along the pavement.

Given that we are looking at the tradesman's entrance of a shop and that is a place where loading and unloading goes on we have to ask ourselves why a parking ticket was issued. Could it be for the money or one of those non-existent targets?

How does Mr Mustard know that the traffic warden knew that unloading was likely to be taking place? Easy, the photograph above was taken by NSL's traffic warden.

Oh but I hear you say, wait, there is no proof that loading or unloading was ongoing and this is what the council will say. Well it is a risk in 2013 to leave your vehicle with the boot open because thieves seem to abound and make off with your goods in an instant (you only have to follow @MPSBarnet on twitter to know that, sadly @MPSBarnet seem to have had their mobile phone stolen as they have not tweeted for a week) so loading is not always obvious.

Well here is another photo:

That looks like a hand at the left holding clothes in plastic covers. How much more evidence of unloading could you possibly want? Whose evidence is this? yes the traffic warden's.

An appeal is being sent in for the unloading exemption. What are the chances that it will be rejected?

Why did the traffic warden issue the PCN in the first place? Does he/she not know the law? Perhaps they are being sent out on the streets in breach of contract before they have passed their NVQ level 2 in parking. They would be even less qualified than the Not Very Qualified that a level 2 NVQ represents.

The sooner the contract with NSL is cancelled the better so that our own local people can be employed as traffic wardens and report in to a parking manager with some commonsense and some accountability to the public, the parking manager is a person who should be at every residents forum.

If you wondered why the High Street is dying? it isn't only because of the internet (you can't send your dry cleaning off this way), upward only rent reviews, the recession, the lack of parking meters that take cash, and the high parking charges (amongst other reasons) it is traffic wardens who are sent on duty with the express intention of issuing tickets and applying zero tolerance which puts off shoppers and makes the long hours of a shopkeeper not worth the trouble. 

If Barnet Council want their High Streets to survive, they need to call off the dogs.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

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