20 October 2020

Copthall Playing Fields - rules changed

Mr Mustard received the following enquiry

Seeing the words 'double yellow lines', you may not have much sympathy.

In this case though, the situation is more nuanced. This is a road within a park which drivers might not realise is actually the public highway and subject to the usual driving and parking rules.

Also, for many years this road could be freely parked on. Perhaps rugby supporters were parking on it on match days and that was causing problems. The rules were changed in 2018

Mr Mustard checked the database of PCNs issued. There wasn't a single one in 2019 but enforcement did take place in the first quarter of 2020 but only on random Sundays (when football is likely to be played and thus a traffic warden has more chance of catching someone out)

Later data has not yet been published and enforcement was paused for a while due to covid.

Mr Musatrd's advice is to not park on those lines any longer as the inevitable will occur and an extra £55 (if you pay the discounted rate) is a bit stiff to watch your child play football.

The best defence is one of 'legitimate expectation' - you parked that way throughout 2019 and 2020 without, up until now, being ticketed. This defence only works once, after that you are on notice.

Here is an adjudicator's explanation but the decision in any particular case is fact dependent and in the mind of the adjudicator.

If you have a blue badge you can park there for 3 hours with a correctly set clock.

Otherwise, park somewhere else.

Yours frugally

Mr Mustard


  1. Double-yellow lines mean No Waiting 24x7 so I'm afraid I can't generate a huge amount of sympathy for the recipients of the PCNs. However this is surely a clear case of 'estoppel' so the council are under an obligation to announce that enforcement will commence on a defined future date and put notices up to this effect. Did they do so ? I'll bet not as the money is too good to miss, Barnet being one of the most venal councils in the UK

  2. I think the doctrine of estoppel doesn't apply to local government but there is something similar, I just can't remember offhand what it is called.


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