20 October 2015

PCN by postcode

The council have responded to someones Freedom of Information request by providing, for a 3 year period, the postcode in which the vehicle was registered. That is not necessarily the same as where the contraventions were committed. The postcode will not be available if someone just pays up as soon as they get the PCN.

Improved formats by Mr Mustard

Don't try and draw too many conclusions from the data.

Mr Mustard for his part has realised that the data is possibly not correct as pennies are not usual with PCN, whole pounds are and lots of them.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

18 October 2015

Muddled of Manchester

Mr Mustard's client had paid and parked in Manchester and then wanted to visit another place about a mile away so she drove there and as there was time left on the parking receipt decided not to pay the same council any further monies. This was a misconceived idea but it turned out OK.

A traffic warden passed by and dished out a PCN for "Parked after the expiry of paid for time" as he/she didn't notice that the location paid for was not the one where the vehicle was parked (the receipt showed a code and not a street. Mr Mustard used a Freedom of Information request to identify the location paid for). Mr Mustard appealed on the basis that the contravention had not occurred. As you can see above the council agreed but they can't resist having a poke in their final sentence which rather dilutes their apology.

The council are wrong, if the pay & display ticket on display is for a different location then any PCN for being parked after paying must fail.

Mr Mustard's client won't make that mistake again but it may help anyone in the same situation.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Postscript from the son of the motorist concerned

Another donation heading towards the North London Hospice.

16 October 2015

Calling all Library Lovers

Dear Library Lover

Please join us to protest the cuts to our library service from 6:30 outside Hendon Town Hall on Tuesday 20th October. The Conservative administration in Barnet have a majority of only one so the result is not a foregone conclusion.

The recently published proposals, If implemented, will mean a terrible hollowing-out of our library service:

- The council is planning to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds on a system that makes it possible to enter libraries only if you have a card and PIN obtained in advance. Therefore, access will denied to all children under 16 unless accompanied by an adult (so, for example, 15-year-old students would not be allowed in to study after staff leave at, perhaps, 5 p.m..)  ‘Security’ will be provided by unmonitored CCTV. There will be no immediate assistance available for queries or research or for vulnerable or disabled people who might need other help. If you don't have a PIN, you will not be able to decide to spontaneously 'pop into' the library. There will be no provision of toilets or baby-changing facilities in the unstaffed libraries.

- 46% of the Library workforce will be sacked - the equivalent of 52 full time equivalent posts

- redundancy payments are expected to cost £1.5 million

- four libraries, Childs Hill, East Barnet, Mill Hill and South Friern will be run entirely by volunteers

- the cost of implementation, including redundancies, planning, reconfiguration of space and new tech for staff-less libraries is estimated to total around £6.56 million

- this is projected to give savings of just £2.77 million by 2019/20

- for the first time a late fee of 5p per day will be introduced on children’s and young people’s materials - a move likely to impact disproportionately on low income families

Full details of the council’s plan can be found here.

On Tuesday 20th October this proposal will be put to full council at Hendon Town Hall. Protesters will gather outside from 6:30pm, please join us to add your voice opposing these appalling cuts.

Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, NW4 4AX. The 143, 183 and 326 buses stop at the town hall which is also 10 minutes walk from Hendon Central station on the Northern Line.
I look forward to meeting you there.

Polly Napper
Save Barnet Libraries

10 October 2015

Hedge Fund

Update Monday 12 October 15: The parking process manager (he isn't silly) has cancelled the PCN. Poor lad, back off his holidays to tricksy emails from the local blogger. The state of the car park is being referred upwards to his boss.

10 October 15

Mr Mustard is dealing with a PCN in the Bunns Lane Car Park for parking outside of the bay parkings. It is in the following line of cars; all but the tiny Fiat 500 seem to be outside of the bay.

A parking bay in a car park should, based upon Traffic Management Orders for other car parks, be 5.5m in length. If it isn't then the council can't enforce its rule that the maximum vehicle length which can be parked is 5.5m (and a maximum height of 2m).

Mr Mustard went there in his car which is 4.6m in length so should easily fit into a bay. Did it?

At most then the bays are about 4m in length. Mr Mustard did go for a wander around Mill Hill and spent money in 2 shops to give a traffic warden time to pop by and ticket him. No such luck!

Mr Mustard was also a bit miffed that he had to use his phone to get 3 hours of free parking as there isn't even a single parking meter in this car park, unlike the ones in High Barnet (why not?). The sum due was £nil but the 3 digit security cvv/cv2 code for his credit card was mandatory despite nothing being due to be charged to his card.

edited in blue by Mr Mustard

Mr Mustard took other photographs whilst he was there

If you don't have a phone you won't do your Saturday shopping in Mill Hill

Apparently, this is a blue badge holder's bay!

Rubbish, weeds and broken glass everywhere, lines not clear, bays too short & too narrow

This a VW Polo, not quite 4m in length

now this car does deserve a PCN on a busy day although no harm has been done today
The council are making £7m a year, net of costs, out of parking.

The council need to spend some of it on resurfacing 75% of the car park, removing all the rubbish (including on the stepped path which no-one can use), killing the weeds, cutting the foliage back, remarking the whole car park with bays which are all at least 5.5m long and installing at least one parking meter so that people can pay on the spot with a credit or debit card or obtain a printed receipt for 3 hours of free parking on a Saturday.

Has there been much publicity for these three free hours as Mr Mustard didn't have to fight for a space? The main users were driving instructors who could teach novices to park without any danger of hitting a parked car.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

9 October 2015

Let's twist again, like we did last summer

You don't need to go back to 1961 to do the twist if you are a Barnet Council / NSL traffic warden. You can try and twist motorists out of money in the summer of 2015 and simultaneously shoot yourself in the foot.

His client, who Mr Mustard always believed, but apparently her husband was sceptical, parked in Finchley Road, Temple Fortune and displayed her blue badge, but the council claimed the bay was suspended. The lady did not see the suspended bay sign (and it was not the triangle shape that they often are in order to try and attain all round visibility) and challenged the PCN on the following grounds:

"As you will see from my photos not only was the sign turned to face away from the road but it was not at all visible from the bay in which I parked my car."

The council refused the challenge and said:

Please be advised that the signage taken by the CEO (sic) at the time of the contravention is facing the correct way. The council can confirm that the signage in place is complaint (sic) with the relevant legislations (sic) and deem you liable for the charge incurred.

Several points here. What matters is which way the sign was facing at the time that the lady parked not at the time that the traffic warden wandered along and (innocently?) turned the sign to get a better photo. (A complaint is about to be logged as that is tampering with the evidence).

The council meant to say "photos of the signage taken by the CEO" not that he took the sign away!

They mean that the signage is compliant with the legislation. It isn't as it omits some mandatory information.

The council cannot deem you liable for the charge. Until you either fail to contest a PCN in time or an adjudicator finds against you a PCN and associated documents are just that, so much paperwork. It is language designed to induce you to pay up (not likely when you are being represented by Mr Mustard, or are on your own but know that an injustice has been done to you).

The case has now reached the adjudication stage and an evidence pack has been received in good time (Barnet are actually much better than many councils, they send a pack to Mr Mustard and another one to the motorist so they can pat themselves on the back for that) but it contains something that hurts their case (and the duty is to submit all evidence good or bad. Mr Mustard is obliged as a regular representative to assist the tribunal which means saying when something is against him. Amusingly, he withdrew a point recently and the adjudicator asked him why he had done so and Mr Mustard told him the argument was pants (he didn't exactly say that) and the adjudicator then responded that it was and he had been looking forward to a good argument about it!) and it is this sentence in the case summary: 

Furthermore, the council would add the signage was in fact directly next to the appellant's vehicle also seen in Google Street View the position of the suspension signage.

The vehicle was not "directly next to" the signage, she was in pole position in bay #1 and the sign is perpendicularly placed alongside bay #2.

Off to google went Mr Mustard and here is what he found, from two angles:

the view from where the lady parked, you wouldn't see the suspension sign unless you were an eagle
The view from bays #2/#3
Mr Mustard had to be helped up from the floor where he was almost laughing his feet off (even funnier than laughing your socks off).

What does the council's own evidence show? It shows (in black & white when it should be in colour) a similar street map image as Mr Mustard's one, with the sign turned to the left. 


A complaint is about to be made to the council as the traffic warden must have put the sign straight, a member of the public wouldn't touch it. If the council continue to oppose the Appeal Mr Mustard will be claiming costs for vexatious and/or wholly unreasonable behaviour (costs are rarely awarded but this is a deserving case) and he has spent time visiting his client and she will attend at the tribunal to give evidence in person so between 5 & 10 hours in total at the legislated flat rate of £18 per hour.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard