Friday, 23 December 2011

Crossover ticket cancelled

I expect that you remember this photograph of my friend's car ( the black one ) which got a ticket for supposedly parking adjacent to a crossover.

My friend wrote a letter and then he wrote another one and his informal appeal was rejected. So he wrote again asking for a copy of Barnet Council's photograph ( they are now available for recent tickets at least on the Barnet Council website ) and he got told that the amount had to be paid which was odd as they hadn't answered his letter. Anyway he kept on and now he has been told that the ticket is cancelled.

So all this started in September. Barnet Council have issued a ticket that is patently wrong, they have chased it and messed my friend about for 3 months which has caused him anxiety and wasted his time and although they do say "sorry for any inconvenience", as if you might not have had any?, I actually don't think that is good enough. When we make a mistake we pay. Surely when the council makes a mistake they should pay us?

The moral of the story is if your ticket is invalid stand up and fight and don't be bullied by the council into paying up. Barnet Council are in Private Eye this week for their bullying antics, see here

Have you had a defective ticket cancelled? It can feature anonymously on this blog if you send me the details.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Footway Parking - LIP policy

7.5.14 Footway (pavement) parking was prohibited throughout London in 1974. It can obstruct pedestrians, particularly the disabled and those with wheelchairs, buggies or prams and can endanger the visually impaired. It can damage the footway and services beneath it as footways are not, as a matter of course, designed to take the weight of vehicles. Pavements are for people, roads are for wheels.
7.5.15 The prohibition applies to every part of the highway that is not a carriageway and so also applies to islands and refuges, kerb extensions, verges, and hard-standings not made-up as footways. Whether the vehicle is causing an obstruction is not an issue. OK
7.5.16 The Council recognises that the 1974 Act permits an exemption for loading provided the vehicle is attended at all times. I didn't know this; so when the cash wagon parks 100% on the pavement outside the Halifax completely blocking the entire pavement, that is OK then?
7.5.17 The Council has provided authorised parking areas on footways in some streets, but there had not been a continuous programme of this and little has taken place for some years. Recently - catalysed by an increase in parking attendants, improved "contactability" of the enforcement service, and possibly a greater tendency of people to report footway parking, the Council has received requests to exempt more areas from the prohibition and in some cases it is recognised that this could be safely accommodated. I don't think that having now closed the parking office the service can be classed as more contactable. Have you tried getting through on the phone. If you are visiting from Croydon you will be fine. You can go knock on the office door of NSL there. Note that if you live in a narrow road where you have parked on the pavement for years ( as long as you leave room for pushchairs and wheelchairs, I hope ) the council will rationalise your request. Best if the whole street gets together, forms a residents association and sends in a request.
7.5.18 In 2006 a work programme will be set up to manage these requests, establishing clear criteria to maintain access along the footway for users, particularly the disabled and those with buggies and prams. As I just said above.
7.5.19 In several recent cases residents of certain streets have indicated that they have parked for many years in this manner, and believed that margin strips in block or bitumised macadam had been provided for this purpose. Given that in the past there may not have been enforcement levels to alert residents to the issues, the Council will in such circumstances withdraw enforcement in streets where active consideration is to be given to permitting footway parking. If you don't ask you don't get, except a PCN of course. Make sure you get agreement from the council in writing if you want it to stick. This will avoid the problem of corporate amnesia when the responsible officer moves on.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 15 December 2011

Parking - the Local Implementation Plan ("LIP")

Back in 2005 the LIP was written and set out council policy on various matters including in Chapter 7, the Parking Enforcement Plan. You can find it here on the council website. The latest multi year plan was recently consulted on. You might struggle to relate some of the policy to reality.

Parking and Enforcement Plan

As a large outer-London borough Barnet has a considerable variety in its make-up. Vibrant diverse local centres of both town centre scale and smaller local centres depend on custom to remain in business and residents and visitors need to have access to a full range of leisure, cultural, and recreational activities and local services. It is inevitable that in a borough with high car ownership many people will seek to use their cars to do this, and this may lead to significant congestion unless parking is adequately managed at destinations. Delete the word "vibrant"; substitute "half-empty"?

Barnet has many railway and underground stations within its boundary, and these will attract commuter-parking by people continuing their journey on public transport. This can have a significant negative effect on local communities around stations. The parking and enforcement plan informs the manner in which these issues are addressed. I disagree with demonising commuters. We should be welcoming them to Barnet in the hope that they stop and shop here. If you live in the countryside near to Barnet where else would you travel from?


Barnet Council manages parking with the aim of maximising movement through the easement of congestion caused by inconsiderate and inappropriate parking, to make it easier for residents to park near their homes and to increase the turnover of parking to help users of local services, businesses and shops. Not with the intention of maximising income which seems to have crept into the equation?

One element of non-essential car journeys is that of commuters driving into the borough and parking on-street near stations to continue a journey - typically into central London. Barnet controls the amount of parking which is available to commuters and thus seeks to reduce this movement by means of controlled zones that provide primarily parking for those with a need to be in the area such as residents, local businesses and visitors including shoppers. 13 tube or Railtrack stations currently have CPZs associated with them. We are lucky to have such good transport links. Maybe a better solution would be to provide large reasonably priced car parks near to stations?

Overall an aim of parking controls is to create a safer environment for all road users making it more attractive to those who wish to walk, cycle and use public transport, whilst providing for necessary vehicle use (including motorcycles which are recognised to be an efficient use of road space). Barnet does not seem to have done well on the safety front. There is scant provision for cyclists; cycle lanes that stop at bus stops are stupid, pointless and dangerous.

In accordance with the RTRA 1984 the Council will have regard to seeking the expeditious, convenient and safe movement of vehicular and other traffic (including pedestrians) and to provide suitable and adequate parking facilities on and off the highway. This does not seem to have been the case at the Oakleigh Road North traffic lights where road traffic movement seems to have been given priority over pedestrians.

Barnet recognises that the continued vibrancy and diversity of services offered in its town centres and smaller retail and mixed-use areas depends on access by all who wish to use them. A balance must be found that encourages people to use local businesses in preference to out-of-town retail developments and this will be reflected in the provision of parking which encourages turnover whilst retaining facilities for loading and for the disabled. Access is being denied by insisting on cashless parking.
Car ownership is an aspiration of many who perhaps see it as granting freedoms they would not enjoy without it. Even if changes cause people to make less use of their cars, they will still wish to park them near to their homes and although Barnet has a great deal of between-wars development with driveways and off-street parking, in much of the Authority the only parking option is on the highway. The implementation of controlled parking zones and high charges are pushing more people to ruin the borough by concreting over their front gardens.

The Council is committed to consultation on parking controls. The local community and elected Members are involved in the process. Very little consultation is seen once a CPZ is in place.

The Council aims to be inclusive in its consultation and proposed CPZs and most other proposed parking restrictions will be the subject of direct mailings to households and businesses in a consultation area as well as street notices and statutory advertisements. Whilst the Council will have regard to petitions submitted, greatest weight is given to the views expressed through returned questionnaires as by this means the Council can be assured that the person participating was doing so without the pressures of a person canvassing for signatures. People take note. Fill in questionnaires. Go round the streets and encourage others to do the same!

The Council will consult at a formative stage of the process and is receptive to all possible outcomes including those which substantially alter the proposal, or which result in no scheme being implemented. Which area managed to avoid a CPZ?

After implementation all CPZs will be reviewed in the light of operational experience during which period the Council will encourage those affected to make representations about the scheme. This may result in changes being implemented. Look at your CPZ. If not reviewed ever, demand one but consult your neighbours first and decide what you want, maybe only a 1 hour a day restriction instead of all day?.

Overall it is therefore expected that car ownership is set to significantly rise in the Borough. However the current situation is that the borough's CPZs are able to accommodate the vehicles owned by residents that cannot be kept off-street and the permit pricing strategy and maximum entitlement is suitable for this purpose. Did something happen in April 2011 such that permit prices had to rise from £40 to £100 and visitor vouchers from £1 to £4 ?


In designating parking the Council sets charges for permits, vouchers and for paid-parking. In setting the former the Council recognises that the ownership of a permit gives the holder a right to use a vacant parking space - a right that a person without a permit does not have. This right has a value and Barnet therefore may set a permit charge that is greater than that required to cover the operational costs of running a permit parking scheme. The same principle applies to vouchers. This was not the basis on which CPZs were introduced.

The Council recognises that parking charges must not be set for the purpose of raising revenue. So why have they been?
The pay and display charge is set to encourage a turnover of parking. The Council has adopted a principle of setting a standard tariff structure across the borough, but has a range of maximum stay period from 1 hour to 4 hours and, where capacity is sufficient, for a period corresponding to the full permitted parking hours of the parking place. Car parks, apart from 3 for permit holders and 6 that are still free, all have all day hours. The two car parks in east Barnet Road used to be free and that kept the road clear. Now people are more likely to park in the side roads and walk. The permit holders only Strafford Rd car park only holds about 10 cars.

A hierarchy of parking need informs the design process and generally parking provision reflects parking need in the following order:
(i)    Disabled people.
(ii) Suppliers of goods and services.
(iii) Local residents and their visitors.
(iv) Businesses, their clients, customers and shoppers.
In consulting on parking controls, the Council considers that the views of those directly affected, ie frontagers of streets subject to the proposals have the greatest weight when consideration is given to representations and comments. However, all views expressed through the consultation process will be given consideration. Many streets within CPZs are now more or less empty because the controls operate all day and the space is thus wasted and the cars have to move further out from the middle.

Barnet has a three-year rolling programme of consultation and implementation of CPZs. In theory.
Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Fashion show, 17 December 2011

We invite you to attend the
Barnet Festive Fashion and Beauty Show
Church House, Wood Street, Barnet
Saturday 17th December
12 noon – 2.00pm
The Fashion Students of Barnet and Southgate College join forces with the fashion and beauty retailers of Barnet to present stunning festive outfits to suit children, ladies and men of all sizes, ages and bank balances. The doors open at 12 noon for guests to enjoy some refreshments and receive a mini beauty treatment and free styling advice from our experts; the fashion show runs from 1.00pm – 2.00pm.
Please support our retailers and students
£3.00 entry fee on the door; Coffee included

Mr McArdle in action

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Labour calls for special council meeting on parking

News from Labour
London Borough of Barnet Labour Group
We’re on your side
Tuesday 13 December 2011
Labour calls for special council meeting on parking
Labour councillors have requested that the Mayor convene an extra-ordinary council meeting urgently to discuss a Christmas and New Year parking amnesty to help residents and struggling local traders in Barnet’s town centres.
Under the council’s constitution five councillors can request the Mayor to call a special meeting of Full Council. The Mayor can accept or refuse the request. The meeting must be called within 7 days of the notice being presented to the Mayor, although there is no time limit by which the meeting must take place. If the Mayor refuses, or does not call the meeting within the 7 days, any five members may themselves call an extra-ordinary meeting.
The Labour motion is:
"Council notes the eye-watering parking charge increases that have been introduced this year, the proposal to increase parking charges by a further 5% next year, and the introduction of cashless parking which has resulted in fewer people shopping in our town centres and more and more local traders and businesses suffering as a consequence.
Council asks Cabinet to urgently introduce a Christmas and New Year parking amnesty in our town centres with immediate effect, to run until the 16th January 2012 in order to help local traders and businesses in our town centres over the Christmas and New Year sales period.
Council also asks that Cabinet review the introduction of last year’s parking charge increases, and the proposal to increase parking charges in the borough by 5% next year."
Labour councillors have been calling for a Christmas parking amnesty for several weeks including at Business Management Scrutiny on 16 November.
Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Kath McGuirk said:

“The parking charge increases this year and the move to cashless parking has really depressed footfall in our local town centres, and many traders are suffering.
We need to do all we can to try and give local traders and businesses a boost in the final few shopping days until Christmas, and during the New Year sales – this is a real chance for the Tories to listen to what businesses are saying and do something to help them.”

Parking charges go up again, but parking income falls

Subject: News Release: Parking charges to increase by 5%, but parking income falls
Importance: High

News from Labour
London Borough of Barnet Labour Group
We’re on your side
For immediate release
Thursday 8 December 2011
Parking charges go up again, but parking income falls
Parking charges are set to increase again by 5% according to a Cabinet Resources report published this week.
But Labour councillors are questioning the logic of year-on-year parking charge increases after recent figures released by the council show income from parking is lower than expected due to a “challenging environment”, with a loss of £418k to predicted parking income.
A 5% increase in parking charges would mean:
  • 1st parking permit increases to £105 per year
  • 2nd parking permit increases to £131.25 per year
  • 3rd parking permit increases to £157.50 per year
  • A book of visitors parking permits increases to £50.40 per 10 vouchers
  • One hour parking voucher (card of four) would be £8.40
  • Half hour parking voucher (card of four) would be £4.20
The parking permit increases published in the Cabinet Resources fees and charges report only lists the prices for purchasing permits online which have been frozen, but the comments in the schedule reveal that “most permit prices are being increased by 5% to reflect inflation but the price of those purchased online is being held to encourage residents to take up this option”.
Labour’s Environment Spokesperson, Cllr Kath McGuirk, said:
"Parking in Barnet is now so expensive people are boycotting our town centres – this is clear from the fact that income from parking is lower than the council predicted, and shows that the increase in parking charges has resulted in less income not more. The Barnet Tories may well put this down to “a challenging environment”, but what they won’t address is how increasing parking charges is creating “a challenging environment” for our hard-pressed residents and struggling traders - they are just not on the side of ordinary people.
It is also incredible that they are hiking up the town centre parking voucher by 5% already when they were only launched last week – it costs less to park outside Harrods then to park in North Finchley!
And the decision to only publish the freeze in permits purchased online, while the small print shows most permits will increase by 5% is frankly cynical."

Since this press release it appears that the question of parking charge increases is under review.

Yours appaelaingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 12 December 2011

Vouchers - the facts ( well for now anyway )

Barnet Council have made a right mess of the voucher system. Paypoint was described by one resident as a figleaf, a nonsense, shameful and a disgrace. I am not sure that the voucher system is even that good.

From: McArdle, John
Sent: 08 December 2011
To: E & O - All Staff; Sterry, Heather; Doody, Lauren; Nason, Jody; Cocker, Sue; Langton, Mike; Griffin, Nick; Palmer, Chris; Constantinou, Effy; Adams, Nikki; Benn, Christine
Importance: High

Dear All

This is important information concerning Parking Vouchers and MUST be passed to anyone who has any prospect of being in contact with Ward Members, residents, or the general public. They should read and understand it, even if they think they already know the answers.

The Facts

Parking Vouchers are now available

They are only available by emailing or calling NLBP

They are NOT available in libraries or any other Council premises

The email address is: parkingvouchers’

The telephone number is: 020 8359 7446

They are valid for One Hour and more than one may be displayed

They cost £2 each, and are sold in sheets of four

Full instructions are printed on each Voucher

They are posted out from NLBP

There is no postage charge

If anyone has a Voucher they are allowed to sell it on

There is no bulk discount ( i.e. for shops, MF )

A Half Hour Voucher is planned but NOT READY YET

It will cost £1 WHEN IT IS AVAILABLE

It is anticipated in mid JANUARY 2012

Some Councillors will be calling staff numbers this afternoon and will be expecting to receive clear and consistent responses.

I apologise for the firm tone of this message but am being pressed to ensure that it is effectively distributed.

I look forward to reading one of Mr McArdle's later less firm, more fluffy emails. Does he sound like a man under pressure to you?

Feel free to give him some more. Write to him at to tell him why you think that the voucher system is a figleaf.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

A meeting about parking - Wednesday 6pm in Tally Ho - all business people welcome

Meeting on Wednesday 14th December at 6:00pm for business owners

There is a meeting at Cafe Buzz (just North of Tally Ho, on the left) which will probably last until 7:30pm. If you are worried about your business please come along and tell us.

Interim Parking Manager plays hardball

When I was looking for something else on the Internet I came across the following:-

Sun, 20 Nov 2011 - 21:16
Post #1
New Member
Group: Members
Posts: 7
Joined: 20 Nov 2011
Member No.: 51,244

Dear all, newbie here!

Got a ticket way back in March that I have been fighting. Been a catalogue of errors by Barnet along the way but still they hang on - I think they have the hump about another ticket I successfully appealed.

I replied to their NTO by email (for which I have my own bone fide delivery receipts). Barnet claim not to have received my emails and have issued me with a Charge Cerificate. Although it is not stated on ANY of their correspondence, they insist that because I do not have an email delivery receipt from them that their hands are tied - they will not recognise the email delivery receipt from my PC.

Surely the fact that you have to have a Barnet Council Official email receipt should be on their paperwork. I also think that the should provide instructions as to what to do should you not receive one?

I am corresponding with John McArdle (interim parking manager) who will have none of it it. He will not acknowledge any of my points at all but just keeps bleating on about the fact that I never made representations to the NTO within 28 days - I clearly did! His last email (today) to me read "I am not prepared to engage in debate with you outside the statutory process". The great thing is that there is no receipt produced when emailing Mr McArdle so it's not something you would assume is "normal" or expected when dealing with this Borough.

I have been given until Fri 25th to pay up. Do I let it got to court and appeal?

Any help is much appreciated as this one has been dragging on for almost 8 months!!

Many thanks

You can read the rest of the tale on the following link.
It would seem that Barnet Council are desperate for every penny of income.
Don't let their attitude put you off. Just keep on marching to the end of the process.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Voucher mayhem

The figleaf solution of vouchers is now slowly coming into being after the meters have been turned off and/or removed. Stand in any high street or car park and watch the arm waving and exasperation of motorists who don't have the technical means to pay ( otherwise known as a mobile telephone ). I do not think that many motorists are going to adjust, I think they are going to go elsewhere.

I walked across the Stapylton Road car park on Saturday, just 2 weeks before Christmas, at 3pm. There were 21 empty spaces which is a third of the car park. This pattern is being repeated across the entire borough. Shoppers are voting with their wheels.

Now if vouchers are to be an alternative they need to be easily available and at prices of £1, £2, £3, £5 and £7 which are the possible prices in High Barnet.

Can you buy all of these in a local shop? No, only by email ( the people who don't have a mobile telephone might just be the same people who don't have a computer - aargh ). That seems a bit ridiculous to me. If the council was committed to vouchers it would make them widely available and in all denominations.

I saw the wraparound in the local paper which said vouchers at £1 and £2 were available but when I tried to buy them I couldn't. I was too quick to try it seems.

This is what the Parking Process Team have now written:

Parking vouchers can only be requested via e-mail

We require the your full name, full postal address, the number of vouchers you require and contact telephone number. We will then process your request in the back office and our payment team will contact you ( will it be this year? ) to take payment over the phone via credit/debit card (we will not be able to process cheques and postal orders for orders placed via e-mail.)

Please note that presently the Parking Vouchers are sold as single vouchers, each voucher costs £2.00 and allows motorists to park in a ‘Pay by Phone Bay’ and a ‘Shared Use Bay’ only, for a 1 hour period. They are not valid in Residents’ Bays, Doctors Bays, Disabled Bays or Suspended Bays, or any bay that is reserved for a specific class of vehicle.
Only the 1 hour vouchers at a charge of £2.00 each can be purchased at the moment.

Kindly send your request to

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance