28 February 2018

No thaw in relations from Barnet Parking

By Kabelleger / David Gubler
Mr Mustard didn't have to wait long before he was asked to advise about a snow related PCN issued to a resident who thought, from memory, that they were parked within a bay on the next road to their own. It turns out they were slightly outside it but given that the whole road was snow covered when they parked they cannot be criticised for being slightly outside the bay, which is what the PCN was for.

This PCN was issued just after 11am on Wednesday 13 December. The road in question, a quiet cul-de-sac, had not been gritted. It is evident from the snow on the pavement that traffic wardens should not be sent out by management in these conditions.

Barnet Council keep worrying about the reasons why residents are unhappy with the performance of the parking department. It won't take a report by an external consultant to tell them that if you send traffic wardens out to ticket cars which have been parked as well as possible in the snow, or even abandoned and not yet collected (we can't all drop everything the minute the snow goes), that the public are rightly going to feel hard done by. Yes, the ticket can be challenged, but motorists should not be put through unnecessary processes.

What should the council do? They should send traffic wardens out, suitably equipped, to grit the pavements and not send them out to issue PCNs until at least 24 hours after all pavements are 99% clear of snow throughout the borough. Anything else looks like profiteering from the council's own failure to properly grit the borough, which shocking story you can read at the Broken Barnet blog here.

Mr Mustard will take this PCN all the way to the tribunal. He has a decision in which an adjudicator says that if councils want to issue PCN they must clear the snow first.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 28 February

The informal challenge, the one in response to the PCN, said the snow prevented the end of the bay from being visible but the council rejected it, as Mr Mustard suspects they reject almost all informal challenges as the council know from experience that people have busy lives and can't be fagged with going through 3 rounds of the battle. Mr Mustard's friend could be bothered.

When the Notice to Owner arrived the resident penned an excellent formal representation, as follows:

I believe that PCN AG12345678 should be cancelled for the following reason:

Vehicle AB12CDE was parked in Sunset View on Sunday 10th December 2017 during a period of heavy snowfall. Sections of the M25 were closed due to the unprecedented amount of snow that had fallen.

Sunset View had not been cleared or gritted and the road was covered in thick snow. The road markings of the CPZ were completely obscured by the snow. This can still be seen on the photographs taken on 13th December. Sections of the road markings are still obscured by the snow/ice and the volume of snow can be appreciated by the pile visible on the pavement.

The car was parked in the parking bay close behind another vehicle, close to the curb.  No obstruction to other vehicles or property was caused.

I was unable to safely move the car prior to 13th December as Sunset View was unsafe for vehicles due to the icy conditions which followed the snow.  The first day on which this was possible was 13Dec. Upon returning to the car on that day I was very surprised to find that a PCN had been issued given that it was obvious that the car had been parked on thick snow and was just marginally outside of the bay marking.

I live within a CPZ area (the next street) and understand why PCNs are issued, but cannot understand why the operative did not use common sense.

Feel free to crib any parts of the representation after changing the references and locations to meet your actual circumstances.

The council, recognising the tone of a determined motorist who was going to take them to the tribunal, which would cost the council £30 they would not see again, gave up.

Note how the power crazy council still want the motorist to think they were in the wrong and the council have kindly used their discretion to cancel. No the cancellation was based upon the facts, that the PCN was unsustainable.

Given the current snowfall traffic wardens will doubtless be out there trying to trap other motorists. Don't stand for it, fight them all the way to the tribunal.

Mr Mustard

1 comment:

  1. This is the sort of pcn that proves the point that councils use parking law as a source of revenue, shameless and immoral.


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