3 December 2019

The Wrong Approach - now righted

A resident emailed Mr Mustard with the above PCN and told him that he wasn't in Approach Road when he parked but in The Approach. A feature of the latest PCN software that Barnet Council use is that they put a pin on a map to show roughly where the PCN was issued, like this:

Clearly the PCN is a nullity for want of an accurate statement of the contravention, the locus being a vital fact. A challenge was sent in saying that the vehicle was not parked (= not waiting) in Approach Road, New Barnet. Here is the relevant part of the response, a rejection of the challenge:

The response is wrong, not just a little wrong, but 100% wrong.

How can a council, or their contractors, NSL, get something so basic as the location so wrong. Approach Road is adjacent to New Barnet railway station.

The two roads are 6 miles apart. It is very hard to muddle them up if the slightest attention is paid.

Now the motorist is asking Mr Mustard if he should pay. Definitely not is the answer as the council have accused him of something which is simply not true. The motorist will now have to wait for the Notice to Owner, and has all of the worry of a PCN hanging over him for all that time, & if the car is leased that will mean an administration fee has to be paid, one that should not be necessary if the council and/or NSL did their job properly. There is no guarantee that the formal representations in response to the Notice to Owner will be considered any more carefully than the informal challenge was, or wasn't, and then an Appeal will be made to the tribunal. It is only at that point that an impartial view will be taken of the facts by a body that doesn't have a financial interest in rejecting perfectly good representations.

Mr Mustard thinks it is time for a change when it comes to how the surplus from road traffic related PCNs should be spent. Let councils cover their costs and all of the surplus after that should go to a central body to spend on something charitable. Councils would rapidly cut their activities back to the minimum and focus solely on the traffic management purposes which should be their primary goal, rather then generating surpluses to reduce their wider budgetary pressures.

We also need an independent oversight body who can investigate why some councils keep making errors in their own favour.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 3 December 2019

The Notice to Owner was issued on 30 October to the garage whose car it was.

Mr Mustard challenged it on 12 November pointing out the road error, providing maps.

Barnet Council refused for a second time to cancel on 26 November.

On 28 November Mr Mustard started an Appeal to the tribunal.
On 3 December he checked the PCN balance and the PCN has, at long last, been cancelled.

What a waste of time and money.

Barnet Council have had to pay a c.£30 case fee to the tribunal. They were always going to lose the case. Why didn't they cancel earlier? Because many people give up even when they are in the right.

Mr Mustard never gives up.

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