19 April 2019

Harrow - the unhelpful council

Two points. Mr Mustard sent what amounts to a stage 1 complaint to the parking department which they managed to answer (not satisfactorily as that is why Mr Mustard wrote a follow up.

Now that Mr Mustard has mentioned the magic word 'Ombudsman' a letter sent to the parking department at the Civic Centre has to be re-sent to the Complaints department at, wait for it, the Civic Centre. This just makes the parking department look obstructive and idiotic.

Mr Mustard is now posting off the repeated complaint to Complaints and added a complaint about the behaviour of the parking department.

His first complaint was that having left a 2016 ticket to rot they can't suddenly, after 2 years of inactivity, register it as a debt at the Northampton County Court. There is an assumption that an enforcement authority will exercise its powers with reasonable expedition.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

13 April 2019

Barnet Homes threaten illegal removal of a vehicle

Wandering down Salisbury Road, past Hart Lodge, housing for old people, Mr Mustard noticed that a white Transit van had a Barnet Homes sticker on it. He took a photo, as above.

Oh dear, thought Mr Mustard, the van probably shouldn't be there but you can't do what Barnet Homes are threatening to do, that's even worse. It brings a council into (even more) disrepute if their ALMO goes around threatening to break the law.

The leaflet doesn't say which reason they are going to illegally remove the vehicle for so let's go through them.

i - It isn't, it is neatly parked in a space.
ii - It isn't & it could only be removed if it was on the public highway.
iii - True but since the advent of the Protection of Freedoms Act clamping or removal is banned. Barnet Homes could relocate the vehicle but only within the same car park. This one is usually 3/4 empty.
iv - Oh yes it does.

You had best take some other action Barnet Homes such as looking in the windscreen at the dozens of documents on top of the dashboard to see if there is an owner's name on any of them, or contact the DVLA and then pop round to see if the owner is ok - they could have been visiting a resident (have you asked them all) taken ill & be in a hospital bed. The owner could have amnesia or been arrested or what have you.

Alternatively, you could put up a barrier at the entrance and stop the problem from ever happening again, that is called car park management.

Do not break the law Barnet Homes. I am watching you.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


10 April 2019

Double trouble at Barnet Council

Thank the Right Hon Eric Pickles MP (as was) for this helpful law
Mr Mustard's client paid for parking up until 10:40 for the correct bay and vehicle.

A traffic warden wandered along at 10:42 and issued a PCN at 10:43. Even a vulture waits until you are dead & rotting a bit before they it your eyes out.

The motorist contacted the council and pointed out that 10 minutes must elapse before a PCN can be issued (although technically you are in contravention).

So, the traffic warden having made an error by pouncing on his/her prey early, the back office, (probably NSL in Scotland somewhere) compounded the error by rejecting a perfectly valid challenge.

Councils are meant to uphold the law not breach it. Do you suppose they are blinded by their relentless pursuit of revenue?

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

4 April 2019

Due regard for the Highway Code - Barnet Council deny an exemption

This is a common scenario. You are the parent of a young child, you drive to school, you have to take them to the school gates or even into the building to make sure they are safe. This will take from 1 to 5 minutes. A traffic warden appears from apparently nowhere (but they do of course know where schools are and the good times for easy pickings) waits for zero seconds and issues a PCN. (The observed to and from times are the same).

An informal challenge (the name given to your response to the PCN before the issue of a Notice to owner) should be cancelled was made as follows:

Sometimes the council ask for proof of schooling but on this occasion they didn't. They simply rejected the challenge, made by the motorist themselves, outright as no exemption could apply.

Do the council have a copy of the Highway Code, ponders Mr Mustard. Let us consider the relevant extract:

'You may stop....while passengers board or alight'. 

That seems clear to Mr Mustard.

The danger is that the public rely on what a council says and expect it to be the truth. In this case Mr Mustard was advising the motorist in the background so should a blatant wrong isn't going to get the council anywhere. What worries Mr Mustard is how many similar and perfectly valid claims have been rejected by the council (NSL) and the motorist has subsequently paid up and lost their £55.

This exemption is one of the most common ones. How can Barnet Council get it so wrong? Oh, they want the revenue, is the suspicion.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard