8 November 2019

Mr Mustard made a mistake - so did others!

Mr Mustard's client parked in The Grove near Finchley Central tube station, on a Saturday. She told him she had parked this way for years. Mr Mustard looked at the council's evidence on line and the sign which the traffic warden photographed, thus:
Mr Mustard thought the reason that this sign had been missed was because it was around the corner in Nether Street and therefore not driven past by the motorist who had driven up from Mill Hill. There are Regulations which a council must follow about installing and maintaining signage

Is the sign which was photographed 'on or near the road'? Mr Mustard would say not as it is on a different road around the corner but an adjudicator might find it to be adequate. However, for 'persons' using the road probably kills it in favour of the motorist as you must have been able to see the sign when driving in the road in question and you cannot. 

Mr Mustard looked back through google street view history and there hasn't been a sign since street view started on that section of yellow line in Nether Street.

Here from google is a photograph of the sign in Nether Street, the cable tie in the traffic warden's photo still being in place after the removal of the sign it was previously securing and there is a strap across the 'H'.

Mr Mustard made the informal challenge (against the PCN). He kept it simple as ever and the 'y' is next to the 't' on the keyboard which turned his 'not' into 'noy' a word he quite likes

Needless to say, the informal challenge was rejected 10 days later

They rarely consider any informal challenge carefully, as will be proved.

Was the sign located on The Grove? If you look for yourselves on google street map, turning in from Nether Street at the tube station end, you will see the sign the traffic warden photographed on the right and then no sign at all on the single yellow line within The Grove. The council have lied, again, in order to try and persuade the motorist to cough up £55.

Here is the council's map of traffic restrictions and signs in The Grove. There is no icon to show a sign within The Grove on the black and orange line. You can see a sign icon in Nether Street but none on the black & orange line, where the car was parked, only on the differently restricted green line in Nether Street. The council, or their sub-contractors NSL, are terrible at lying.

There is guidance on signs and lines, known as Chapter 3 of the Traffic Signs Manual. It isn't law but the council must have due regard to its contents. It says this

No-one can argue with the fairness of para 13.1.12 - the driver could not readily establish the precise restriction.

There was not a sign within 15m of the northern end of the single yellow line in The Grove as there wasn't a sign within The Grove at all.
Ignore the kerb marks about loading as that was not prohibited. These are stock images. What you can see is a little transverse mark which shows where the restrictions change, as they do between The Grove and Nether St, the change is not marked by a line on the ground nor signs at the changeover point.

When Mr Mustard received the council's letter rejecting the challenge, he went back over the facts to check them. He decided to start with the council's own map based traffic order. At that moment he realised his error when he clicked on the point where the car was parked and the rules popped up on the page.

This shows that the times when you cannot park where the black and orange line is located at 2-3pm on Mondays to Fridays inclusive. Mr Mustard smiled as immediately he knew he would beat the PCN (previously he just expected to beat it). He was annoyed though as the council had told him something which he knew not to be true with the sole purpose of trying to extract revenue from his client (who turned out to know the situation better than he did!).

What are the rules if a yellow line is not signed on the spot? (and let's take it that a sign around the corner in the next street does not, in all fairness, apply) It is the cpz entry sign that sets the times.

Down at the lower part of Dollis Road, towards Mill Hill, the place the driver came from, is this sign

which sign confirms the Monday-Friday 2-3pm times when you cannot park on an otherwise unsigned single yellow line (bays may have different times).

Who got what wrong?

The traffic warden got wrong that the sign around the corner applies. 
They should have thought that the absence of a sign meant CPZ hours apply.

Mr Mustard got wrong not checking the TMO map for the rules.
He was wrong to rely on the traffic warden's photo of the sign.
He should have wondered why his client had parked there on so many previous Saturdays without being ticketed.

The Barnet Council back office (probably NSL in Dingwall) got wrong the fact of the existence of a sign in The Grove. They refer to 'the sign' which must be a reference to the one photographed within Nether Street.
They got wrong not looking at The Grove on google street view, if they had looked back through 10 year's worth of google street view images they would not have found a sign in The Grove.
They got wrong not checking the rules for the location in question in the council's own map of the parking rules.
They got wrong that if there was a sign in the Grove it would say: Mon-Fri, 2-3pm.

Next steps

Mr Mustard's assistance was not disclosed in the informal challenge. It will be now as he will make a second informal challenge. Councils always tell you that you cannot do that but Mr Mustard disagrees as the PCN says

'If we receive representations before a Notice to Owner is served, from any recipient of a Penalty Charge Notice, those representations will be considered'.

The motorist does not yet have a Notice to Owner so is entitled to expect the council to do what they promise.

Besides, a factual error has occurred and it is in everyone's interest to correct this error as soon as possible. The motorist should not have the PCN hanging over them for a moment longer than necessary.

Mr Mustard is sure the second informal representations will be considered more carefully, as they will be accompanied by a complaint to parking management, who are all far to wise as to tell an untruth to Mr Mustard.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard

Update 17 December: Mr Mustard complained on 10 December to parking management and provided his analysis of what was wrong. Clearly management agreed as the PCN has now been cancelled today. There was not a word of apology in the cancellation letter but there was a warning that the outcome didn't set a precedent at that location, it is panto season, oh yes it does.

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