28 February 2017

On line Appeals to tribunal now possible for Barnet PCN

No-one told Mr Mustard, the biggest user of the London Tribunals Appeals system when it comes to Barnet PCN, that he could now make the Appeals on line rather than submit the paper Appeal form. He found out by idling through recent FOI responses. The Notice of Rejection did not tell him this but he did happen to have an Appeal to raise and he has now done so on line. This has saved Mr Mustard the £1.74 signed for postage cost (which will increase the amounts donated to the hospice as this was an out of pocket expense that Mr Mustard would retain from donations made via him) and the council about £3 as the tribunal charge for on line Appeals is lower than for paper ones. Everyone's a winner (except the council who usually lose the Appeals!).

There is now no excuse for you, yes you, not to make an Appeal when you get your Notice of Rejection. Do it on line the same day. You don't need to add anything new in the reasons box, just put 'as representations'.

This is the link to the on line system to make a new appeal.

Happy appealing. Treat the tribunal visit (you are going to appear in person aren't you as you get better results on the whole) as a fun day out. There is plenty to do in the Chancery Lane area and thereabouts.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

27 February 2017

Links for parking boffins

Useful links:







·     Chapter 3: Regulatory Signs
·     Chapter 4: Warning Signs
·     Chapter 5: Road Markings
·     Chapter 7: The Design of Traffic Signs
·     Chapter 8: Signs for Road Works and Temporary Situations


·     1/12 Shared Use Routes for Pedestrians and Cyclists
·     1/11 Shared Space
·     2/09 Pedestrian Guardrailing
·     1/09 Signal Controlled Roundabouts
·     2/08 Cycle Infrastructure Design
·     1/08 Traffic Management and Streetscape


·       1/15 Variable Message Signs
·       8/14 Implementing extended working hours at road works
·       7/14 Mapping underground assets
·       6/14 Using road plates at road works
·       5/14 Using temporary backfill at road works
·       4/14 Using cementitious mixtures at road works


·     Manual for Streets
·     Know Your Traffic Signs
·     Prevention of Bridge Strikes
·     Puffin Crossing Good Practice Guide
·     Mini Roundabouts Good Practice Guidance
·     An Introduction to the Use of Portable Vehicular Signals

22 February 2017

Contrasting materials in Camden

Mr Mustard's client, Sara, parked here in Russell Square, one wet Sunday in October, but was further to the right in the picture. Consequently she was on top of the diagonal paving which delineates the area in which parking is allowed. She received a PCN for being on the footpath (not the bit that counts as the carriageway).

Mr Mustard pondered the situation. Unlike Sara he knew that the Secretary of State gives authorities to enforcement authorities to use a change in material to signify a change in designation of an area and this is done for aesthetic reasons. However, that change in material still needs to be adequate (sufficiently obvious) to communicate the change.

Mr Mustard challenged the PCN.

'She had no idea that she was parked on the pavement as the minor distinction in paving material does not make it obvious which is carriageway and which is footway. I expect that you have a Secretary of State authorisation for this (and please send me a copy) but despite that I do not think that the driver has been adequately informed of the restrictions in place and so you should cancel the PCN. In the future should she have to visit Camden by car she will look out this subtle nuance.'

A month later Camden Council responded:

A link was provided from which Mr Mustard downloaded a copy of the Secretary of State's authorisation under S64/S65.

Mr Mustard and Sara conferred and agreed to fight to the end as she regarded the situation thus:

'It's not just unfair, but outrageous that councils use different paving stones to delineate parking bays when the council knows full well that the ordinary motorist does not know this. How are motorists logically or practically expected to? If even at this stage it is impossible to know whether a resolution had been passed -- but can only know this by fighting to the end -- we have now entered into the likes of a Kafka nightmare. My point is how can a secret resolution be deemed public knowledge? Moreover, why create these "aesthetic" parking areas that taper off diagonally unless the intention is to trap people into parking incorrectly? What next: no parking signs anywhere, ever?'

The Notice to Owner duly arrived just before Xmas and on 23 December Mr Mustard made the following on line representation:

'The required contrast in materials between the parking bay and the pavement does not exist' 

as Mr Mustard was not in the mood to waste too many words.

A month later back came Camden Council. They repeated the relevant section of the Secretary of State's authorisation and went on to say:

'Whilst it is indeed regrettable that you were unaware that the rear of the vehicle was parked on the footway, the onus ultimately lies with the driver to ensure that they have reviewed the relevant bay demarcations and signage and park accordingly.'

There was no legal requirement to re-offer the 50% discount at this stage and Camden Council did not do so. It is then an easy decision for Sara to make. Pay £130 without a fight or have a free fight (called an Appeal) at London Tribunals which Camden Council have to pay the £30 fee for and pay nothing if you win and the same £130 if you lose; plus if you attend the hearing you get a chance to buy Mr Mustard a pint at The Inn of Court which he needs as he has done most of the talking.

The Oliver's Island was excellent today, the first pint out of the barrel
So, easy decision made, an on line Appeal was started at the end of January and a hearing date was set for a personal hearing on 1 March.

Today Mr Mustard went looking for the evidence pack as he had not received it from Camden Council. Instead on the appeal website he found that Camden had filed a DNC form. DNC stands for Do Not Contest. So now, having been faced twice with the same simple one line argument, there is no contrast between the materials used, which they had rejected twice, the council all of sudden, when getting close to having the matter decided by an independent legally qualified adjudicator, decide to throw in the towel. The PCN will be formally cancelled overnight by the lead adjudicator.

It is wrong of councils (not just Camden) to twice reject perfectly good arguments (the ones that Mr Mustard usually employs) in order, in Mr Mustard's opinion, to try and nudge (bully / bludgeon / mislead? choose your own description here) motorists into paying up at either 50% or 100% when the motorist was not at all in the wrong.

There is nothing wrong with having different coloured pavoirs to identify a parking area but two shades of grey is not a contrast.

So, just to help you Camden Council

No contrast, all shades of grey, like granite
High contrast, but green coloured paving probably not a good idea.
In future, Camden Council, you need to accept valid challenges at an earlier stage. If Mr Mustard is on the other end of the tug of war, he does not let go of the rope. All you do is waste £30 in fees.

Other motorists in Camden High Street, Russell Square and around central London, best look out for subtle changes in paving, even when it is raining cats and dogs, so that you can avoid the rigmarole of a challenge.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update by Sara

Don't know how to access your tweet, but I did read your blog entry about my case and enjoyed it! No laughing matter, the way the parking regime operates, but at least you manage to inject humour into your reporting!

Actually, am trying to learn something from the experience so I assume that they backed down because they knew they would not be able to show that the contrasting paving materials were adequately ... contrasting??

But there is even more to the story than I burdened you with, because I knew that these would not be relevant to my defence. However, I do feel strongly about it, so I'm going to tell you now. Feel free to disregard if you're too busy or if my crusade too boring.

1) One thing I noted from the PCN was that it was obviously issued within minutes of my parking and walking away. The CEO was -- no question -- hiding somewhere out of sight and waiting for me to park "incorrectly". Given that there is no paid parking on a Sunday, I guess these guys have to make sure to issue their quota of PCNs, so they know where to go. There is clearly the expectation that people will park in such a way as to ensure a nice little income stream.

2) The diagonal line over which I parked has to be a deliberate method of entrapment. The diagonal renders a whole section of the "carriageway" unusable and in the interests of fair play, should not include any of the paving stones upon which they will contend it is otherwise permissible to park. But it can only be that this is done on purpose. If the council were serious about playing fair, they will have become aware of how many people parked as I did -- in other words, unwittingly incorrectly. (I am sure, for instance that the statistics for that part of the pavement attract a much higher incidence of "infractions" than any other part. It would no doubt be interesting to know these statistics..... )

Just as an aside, while I don't wish to get into the merits or demerits of a certain Mr D. Trump, I find it extraordinary that the great British public gets riled up enough about his administration to protest in the streets, yet are quite complacent when it comes to their own government allowing councils the latitude to run "parking enforcement" the way they do. In fact the whole parking industry -- private and public -- operates in ways no other areas of enforcement would be able to get away with, with rules being specifically made to allow the motorist to be swindled, cheated and deprived of adequate remedies to injustices. This is what we should be protesting about, not some sociopath in Washington over whom we have no say.

Once again, my admiration to you for your part in ensuring whatever justice you can,


16 February 2017

Enfield Council in time travel trouble.

Mr Mustard complained about the use of the non-statutory pre-debt reminder to Enfield Council on 26 January. He had previously complained about it in November and was told that all his points were valid and the reminder would be changed. The revised version was so similar that Mr Mustard didn't notice the subtle differences, he having expected radical change & possibly withdrawal of the use of the reminder as Haringey Council decided at about the time that Mr Mustard complained to them.

This is what Mr Mustard wrote on 26 January:

Dear Mr Parking Manager

Nothing has yet changed with the pre-debt reminder?

I don't think the contravention description is substantially complaint (sic) as looking at the meter on google streetmap it looks to have the red dash sticker on it. That means that payment could have been made by phone, which is not part of the alleged contravention. Surely this should have been a code 11, parked without payment of the parking charge and your PCN is unsustainable?

In the circumstances you could please cancel EF00123456.

Many thanks
Mr Mustard

There then followed a game of email ping pong which culminated in Mr Mustard's complaint being sent from parking to the complaints department from where it will end up with the Ombudsman who, his recent report Fairer Fines shows, is currently concerned about the fair treatment of motorists.

As there had been a pre-debt reminder Mr Mustard knew that a charge certificate had been issued. His client had not received the Notice to Owner and was awaiting the Order for Recovery so that the process could be rewound to the Notice to Owner stage.

On 27 January Mr Mustard's client sent him a copy of the Order for Recovery. Mr Mustard duly submitted his client's witness statement to the TEC the very same day.

On 9 February the council, as they were perfectly entitled to do, issued a fresh Notice to Owner.

On 15 February Mr Mustard's client sent him a copy of the fresh Notice to Owner and on the same day Mr Mustard went on-line to the Enfield Council computer and made representations that the PCN had been issued for the wrong contravention code.

Imagine Mr Mustard's surprise when he received a Notice of Rejection on 16 February which had been written on 14 February and which contained the following:

The order set out in the legislation is simple, it goes like this:

1 - Notice to Owner
2 - Representations against the Notice to Owner
3 - Notice of Rejection (or Acceptance) of the Representations
4 - Appeal to the tribunal (done!)

Enfield Council have decided to make Mr Mustard's email of 26 January which pre-dated the Notice to Owner of 9 February into a document which was issued 2 weeks later after the Notice to Owner.

In the four years that Mr Mustard has been fighting PCN he has never seen such a blatant procedural impropriety. They are defined as a failure to follow Parking Regulations but you could simply think of them as a council blunder.

He know has an Appeal pending which technically he shouldn't have but which he has no doubt will be allowed if it reaches a hearing which it probably won't as Mr Mustard will be filing a further complaint with Enfield Council. Mr Mustard will be making a claim for costs, which is very rare for him, as the council have been wholly unreasonable.

Mr Mustard doesn't suppose, or rather hope, that Enfield Council are playing guessing games about the representations that ordinary members of the public intend to make on a future date. If they are though, the public don't know the correct procedure like Mr Mustard does.

What the council's actions do disclose though is an indecent haste to reject Representations not yet made by Mr Mustard.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

15 February 2017

NSL over egg their importance in Lewisham

The distinction between private and public parking enforcement is hard enough for many people to fathom without NSL making out that they are issuing council PCN 

'in Partnership with'

Lewisham, and that assumes that you know that the crown icon with Lewisham underneath means the London Borough of Lewisham which Mr Mustard's client, a man from Edgware, does not know.

Thought you would phone Lewisham about your PCN, don't!

0845 numbers are 11 to 18p a minute. What does the Local Government Ombudsman think about 0845 numbers?

It looks like Mr Mustard will be complaining to the monitoring officer.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

13 February 2017

London Tribunals - new PO Box

Since PATAS became London Tribunals in mid 2015 Appeals have been sent to PO Box 530, SALE, M33 0FP

Mr Mustard recently noticed a new address and the tribunal have confirmed that the address should now be used and the Sale address can be disregarded.

The address to send Notices of Appeal to is now:

London Tribunals
PO Box 10598

even if it says Sale on the form itself.

Doubtless the new address will slowly start to percolate onto forms being issued by enforcement authorities.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard