Monday, 30 July 2012

PATAS 9 -14 July

Here are the figures for the next week of final appeals to the Parking & Traffic Appeals Service:

Appeal Appeal
July Allowed Refused
9 3 0
10 0 0
11 1 0
12 6 0
13 0 0
14 3 1
Totals 13 1

The only case lost was when a motorist who didn't have a bank card on him met with a broken parking meter and his own photograph showed that he should have paid by phone as an alternative. Given that the council might not have served their paperwork if that photo had not been submitted that case also might have been decided in favour of the motorist.

Other cases that were allowed include someone unloading heavy boxes in person. Another case saw the parking ticket not being served properly and the tone, content and consistency of what Barnet Council / NSL had to say being less believed than the motorist.
In one case the Notice to Owner was defective. That is something I will consider in detail soon in a separate post.
Another motorist had paid by SMS but still got a ticket. The traffic warden claimed to have observed from 12:52 to 14:57 which seems unlikely. Documents were not produced by Barnet Council / NSL in this case so the motorist won.
In a case heard on 12 June the parking ticket and the car had different registration numbers so that certainly had to be cancelled.
Also that day an appeal concerned a faded yellow line in Hoop Lane. The ticket was issued in March 2012 and yet Barnet Council / NSL produced photographs from 2009. How do they help clarify anything?

Two tickets were heard at an adjourned appeal to allow time for Barnet Council / NSL to produce evidence of the pay-by-phone requirements. The documents were not produced at the adjournment and so the motorist won.

On 14 July the three allowed appeals were because Barnet Council / NSL did not produce the necessary paperwork.

You do have to ask yourself what sort of contract handover has taken place on this One Barnet outsourcing. It should be the simplest of contracts to hand on to another company and here we are, 10 weeks into the contract, and paperwork is not being produced in anything like a consistent manner for PATAS. This truly is shambolic.

Keep piling the appeals in. Whilst Barnet Council / NSL are in such a mess you stand every chance of winning an appeal.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 23 July 2012

PATAS results from 2 to 7 July

Here we go with another week at PATAS. We are getting to the more recent cases which should be going 50:50 between the council and the motorist but the motorist still has the upper hand thanks to Barnet Council tying one hand behind their back, if not both, when they signed up with NSl and obviously they haven't sorted out the transfer properly.

Appeal Appeal
July Allowed Refused
2 0 1
3 1 0
4 2 0
5 6 4
6 1 0
7 2 1
Totals 12 6

The figures are distorted by the 5 July when one motorist had 4 appeals heard. The car was apparently with his garage to repair and they drove it through 4 bus lanes, road testing one supposes. The offence was committed and although it seems a bit rough when you don't even have the keys the motorist has lost all 4 appeals. The decent thing would be for the council to cancel 3 of them (as bus lanes are artificially broken up by side turnings) but it won't happen as they are too desperate to hold on to the cash. I wonder what the highest number of bus lanes tickets one motorist has ever received for driving up one road in one journey?

The 2 July motorist was a bit late out of bed and the time on the photographs cost him £110.

3 July is interesting. Coming home a motorist was prevented from fully entering his drive by his sister's car. He left the engine running whilst he went in the house (this is a breach of the Highway Code but luckily that is a police matter otherwise another ticket would have been issued, it is also foolish as your car might get stolen) and received a parking ticket during that time. The motorist, Mr S, is, I am delighted to note, a frequent appealer and was believed by PATAS. It was rather an over-zealous ticket as what was going on must have been obvious to the traffic warden.

On 4 July a resident of Sheffield contested the two tickets on the grounds that he had sold his vehicle. Evidence to this effect from DVLA was not accepted by Barnet Council. The commonsense fact that he lived in Sheffield and so was unlikely to be incurring multiple fines in Barnet was a telling factor and both tickets are to be cancelled.

On 5 July there are notes of poor evidence of a motorist being in a bus lane being supplied, of poor evidence generally being supplied and it not being clear exactly what was being supplied, of poor quality photos from the borough, and of the council (or NSL) providing google photographs (they will be a year or two out of date - this smacks of desperation) and poor quality photos taken by the traffic warden at dusk.

There was also a no-show by the council/NSL to a personal hearing. The motorist didn't show either, perhaps because he knew the council were not bothering, and the paperwork was used as the basis to decide in favour of the motorist.

6 July no paperwork from the council/NSL.

On 7 July a parking ticket issued to a Doctor was cancelled as it had not been correctly issued.

Another motorist was being deprived of a fair hearing due to significant shortcomings in the Authority's case (that reads like a warning to me to Barnet Council). Here are the notes.

The Appellant attended in person.

There are significant shortcomings in the Authorities case. First, the Notice of Rejection that the enforcement officer noticed the Appellant's vehicle in a resident's bay and it went on to say that the Appellant had not pay and displayed. This was repeated in the case summary. One cannot have a contravention of failing to pay at display while at a resident's bay.

Secondly, the Authority asserted that because motorists are not permitted to park without payment after the Authority had successfully rolled out cashless parking. I cannot accept this statement at all. There is no evidence that a cashless system was in operation. In fact, the contrary appears to be true. There was a pay and display machine, the CEO commented that he did not see a pay and display ticket and he took a photograph of the pay and display machine. The best that can be said was that there was a parallel system of pay and display and pay by phone. If pay and display is allowed, then motorists are allowed time to purchase a ticket and where necessary go to a second machine to do so if the first one did not work. There was no evidence to contradict the Appellant's assertion that several machines were out of action which explained his being away for several minutes.

Thirdly, the Appellant said that he was told by an enforcement officer that he should leave a note then go to find a working machine. The presence of a note would therefore lend some weight to this assertion especially as the CEO stated that no note was seen. The Authority has a photograph of the dashboard and it is more than likely that it would support or rebut the Appellant's account. The Authority presented the photograph as a thumbnail in a small screenshot. No meaningful details can be ascertained. This has deprived the Appellant of the opportunity of a fair hearing.
Barnet Council/NSL are, it would seem, in a complete mess.

On another case that day the ticket machine was out of order and the motorist did not have a  debit card. Tough. The parking ticket has to be paid.

All in all a very interesting week showing that Barnet Council/NSL have not get their joint act together more than 2 months after the contract started and that if you have a logical argument supported by evidence you stand a good chance of getting your parking ticket squashed.

Keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Friday, 20 July 2012

PATAS week of 25 - 30 June 12

Another good week for motorists and a bad one for NSL / thin client parking section ( Barnet Council )

Appeal Appeal
June Allowed Refused
25 4 4
26 4 0
27 3 0
28 1 1
29 5 0
30 0 1
Totals 17 6
Some of the interesting points to come out this week were:
A motorist had broken down in a loading bay. The appeal was allowed. You do have to question why Barnet Council thought they ought to profit from someone else's misfortune.

An appeal against parking in a disabled bay, inside a CPZ, but outside the zone hours, was refused. Unless there is a sign giving times when a disabled bay is for general use then treat it like a double yellow and park elsewhere. It is generally good practice to find another spot if you can.

An appeal was allowed where a motorist was dropping off their daughter, a baby and a pushchair (again where is the commonsense that this might take longer than 2 minutes and the safety of the baby comes before petty parking rules) and in addition the ticket had not been served because the motorist had finished depositing their passengers and had driven off before the ticket was affixed to the windscreen.

A motorist claimed they were parked on the foot way inside a marked bay designed for the purpose and provided photographs. The council provided a plan of the street showing where the bays were designed to be and photographs of the car as parked. One can only conclude that the motorist can it wrong somehow. Be careful when you park on the pavement, you need to be 100% certain you are inside a pavement parking bay especially in Old Rectory Gardens, Edgware. I have just looked at the road on google and it seems quite clear where you can and cannot pavement park. If this happens to you measure the width of the bay as often they are too narrow and that could be the basis of your appeal.

The 26th saw every motorist win. One claimed to have paid-by-phone and the records produced by NSL/the council were inadequate. For being parked in a residents bay the Traffic Management Order was not produced by NSL/the council. A parking ticket was issued for being on a yellow line but the car was actually in a loading bay. On the final case that day the relevant documents were not produced by NSL/the council.

The 27th saw 3 cases without documents being produced by NSL/the council.

On the 28th a motorist received a ticket for being more than 50cm from the kerb which we all ought to be able to manage to get within and your car is less likely to be hit if it is not sticking out unduly. The ticket was not on the car when the motorist came back. Where do these tickets go, do pranksters steal them, is the glue not very good or does the traffic warden remove the ticket after taking the photograph?

The allowed case that day is a corker. A motorist parked half in a marked out bay and half on a single yellow line. Warden 311 said that was fine and then issued a ticket. That warden may be worth treating with some scepticism int he future if you see him/her. Fortunately the certified copy penalty charge notice had the wrong vehicle registration on it and so it had to be cancelled.

4 of the 5 cases were considered cases i.e. there was real debate. Evidently NSL/the council are not arguing very well.

Remember that it is sensible to appeal three times. Informally on receipt of the ticket on your vehicle, then formally after receiving the Notice to Owner, and then to PATAS if your formal representations are rejected.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 16 July 2012

PATAS 18-23 June

Surely NSL are performing by now, 6 weeks into the contract? It seems not.

Here are the numbers.

Appeal Appeal
June Allowed Refused
18 4 1
19 16 1
20 0 1
21 2 3
22 2 1
23 0 1
Totals 24 8

Once again we see cases where the evidence has not been sent to PATAS by NSL. How much longer can this go on for? ( At least another 3 weeks ).

Some of the interesting cases this week were a motorist who had a problem paying by phone and told the traffic warden (CEO) who said they had cancelled the ticket. Oh, what a whopper. The motorist produced their telephone call records and the appeal was allowed.

In another case the paperwork from Barnet Council said that the charge of £55 would be reduced by 50% to £110. Oops, that Notice was manifestly non-compliant and so the parking ticket was cancelled.

Another motorist, Mr F, received 3 tickets for 3 consecutive bus lanes. His car was overheating and so he limped slowly home and avoided impeding other traffic by using the bus lanes. He produced garage bills to show the repairs that were necessary. PATAS found that the issue of 3 tickets was excessive and so cancelled two. One had to be paid as the motorist should have stopped and called out a breakdown service. It is OK to break down and stop in a bus lane it seems as it is beyond your control.

A Mr O parked on the footway in Clifford Rd and his appeal was refused. There is only room for one car at a time up Clifford Road ( it and Hadley or Woodville could all usefully be made one way ) and it is a bit of a rat run at the rush hour but even if cars park on the pavement on both sides there still won't be room for 2 cars so why anyone does it is beyond me. The pavements are narrow and should be left clear. Please don't park on the pavement anywhere in Barnet and that is one parking ticket that you can then never get.

Another motorist saw the parking meters bagged over and thought that parking had become free because it had been the previous Xmas ( the free after 3 scheme ) but her appeal was refused. An expensive lesson for Miss J that she should have checked the signs.

Some poor sole received a ticket at 11.02 when the bay started at 11.00 Over sleeping or losing track of time in Barnet can be expensive.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

PATAS 11-16 June / Sandbrook Close

Did NSL wake up yet? No.

Total 43 7

There were some interesting cases in this week which were mostly in favour of the motorist.

One person claimed they were abroad in the vehicle but the tax disc number had been noted so they weren't.

One person claimed they had broken down but did not turn up to present their argument; perhaps they broke down again; they lost.

Someone else parked on their own approach to their property across the verge which they accessed via a crossover; they lost.

One person claimed to be loading but their delivery paperwork was for the wrong day so they lost.

All the above cases show that you have to be careful with your paperwork if you want to win your case.

One person claimed to be outside the hours of the yellow line when they were inside them. This was in Sandbrook Close. The problem was the same as for Brent Green where the sign plate was held to be confusing. This person won their appeal as the local authority should know better and should put up clear signs. See case no. 2120234187 on the PATAS website.

Barnet Council rescheduled one hearing and then still failed to submit any evidence. PATAS seemed unamused at that event and naturally found in favour of the motorist.

Keep putting those appeals in. Remember you have to submit three (informal,formal and then to PATAS) to be in with a real chance of winning.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Open letter to Councillor Richard Cornelius and Scotland Yard

Helen Michael: open letter to Councillor Richard Cornelius and to Scotland Yard
Since the electoral defeat of former Assembly Member and Barnet Cabinet member Brian Coleman in May, Barnet’s Tory council leader Richard Cornelius and his colleagues have sought to distance themselves from most of the more controversial policies that Coleman promoted.
Most significant among these is the parking scheme, which has caused so much anger among the residents and traders of this borough.

At a meeting with Barnet traders at a North Finchley forum in December last year, Councillor Cornelius was told in no uncertain terms by the shopkeepers and small business owners of this borough about the devastating impact of this ridiculous scheme. He replied:
I’m listening, but I haven’t got any intention to do anything else other than that ... I’ve heard you and it’s obviously affected me. I don’t know what I can do. I don’t know if I can do anything.”
Local cafe owner Helen Michael said:
We are wasting our time – you’ve said in no uncertain terms that you’re not going to do anything. We are begging for our businesses, for our livelihoods. Please do something.”
Councillor Cornelius and his fellow Tories sat back and watched as the life of our local high streets ebbed away, in some cases losing up to 40 percent of their usual level of trade.
He refused to do anything for us, so we acted for ourselves.
Bloggers, traders, residents, community activists and trade unions united and voiced their opposition to the changes. Prominent among the campaigners was Helen Michael. As spokeswoman for North Finchley traders she made every effort to focus attention on the injustice and devastating impact of the policy, and hold Councillor Coleman to account for the consequences of his scheme. Her efforts won admiration from London Mayor Boris Johnson – and even Richard Cornelius, who is reported to have suggested she should think of standing as a Conservative candidate for the council.
Only since Brian Coleman lost his seat on the London Assembly, and then his Cabinet post, and in response to two other electoral defeats, has the Tory group on Barnet Council admitted that the parking changes were unfair, and sought to retract them. Councillor Cornelius has now apologised for introducing the policy, and a review is underway.
How ironic it is, therefore, that the woman who did what Councillor Cornelius failed to do, and fought for the best interests of residents and traders, is now being investigated by Scotland Yard, after an allegation of wrongdoing in relation to a poster produced by her in the course of the parking campaign. An omission on this poster was rectified early on in the campaign, and Helen Michael was informed by local police that there would be no further action.
Despite this assurance, Helen Michael is now being investigated by officers from Scotland Yard, and yesterday spent two hours, under caution, being interviewed at a local police station about the poster, and her motivation for its publication.
We believe that this targeting of a local campaigner is a deliberate and politically motivated act of intimidation.
To involve the police in this way is inappropriate, and a serious misuse of their time and resources.
We call on Council leader Richard Cornelius to speak out against the victimisation of a brave, resourceful and admirable woman. We call on Scotland Yard to desist from taking any further action in regard to this matter.
Derek Dishman
John Dix
Vicki Morris
Theresa Musgrove
Roger Tichborne

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

PATAS - 4 to 8 June

Avoid parking tickets; use car parks

It was a quiet week at PATAS because of the jubilee bank holidays hence there were only 2 cases on the list this week. Both were found in favour of the motorist.

The second case, heard on 8 June, related to a Mr F who attended the hearing only to find that NSL, on behalf of Barnet Council, had not submitted any evidence and so his time was wasted as evidently he was not told they were going to do a no show.

It would be polite and businesslike of NSL to tell motorists at least the day before that they have thrown in the towel rather than putting innocent individuals to trouble and the expense of a day off and travelling into central London.

100% wins for motorists this week. Keep submitting those appeals.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

Monday, 2 July 2012

Brent Green NW4 - a classic error

can also have a picture of a bus on it, and an arrow
Brent Green is a road that is off Brent St. It is inside a CPZ which operates from 11am to noon. Mr T parked his car there on 9 May 2011 and came back to his car to find a ticket on it. He had seen a sign of the above kind (I don't have time to go to Brent St to take a photograph so if you live locally please send one to me) and thought it was a plate showing the times when he couldn't park on a single yellow line.

The case went to PATAS and they gave a long and detailed reasoning as to why the parking ticket was to be cancelled which you can find by going to the PATAS site and entering the reference number 2120013199 in the search box.

Basically the sign says the times that lorries and buses cannot park overnight and many motorists confuse the signs for the times that apply to the yellow line that the sign is adjacent to. It is an easy mistake to make so there are rules that suggest that an extra sign to deal with the yellow line is also in place. It was not in place on 9 May 2011 and so unless it is now in place the council (via their agent NSL) should not issue any more tickets in Brent Green NW4.

If the signs have not been made clearer and you made the same mistake as Mr T then you should ask for your money back from the council and quote the decision in this case in support of your argument.

The same will apply to any other location where there is a prohibition on lorry and/or bus overnight parking on a yellow line so if you receive a ticket in the same circumstances then please appeal it and if you have paid one, ask for your money back.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

PATAS 28 May to 1 June - the worst week yet

You have got the picture from reading previous blog posts.
Here are the numbers of parking tickets that were cancelled by PATAS each day in just one week, the worst week for NSL so far and the best for motorists.

Appeal Appeal
May Allowed Refused
28 3
29 10
30 0
31 22
01-Jun 35
Totals 70 -

If NSL had produced the paperwork about half of the tickets would have been upheld. The 35 that might have been paid if they had done the contracted work would have been a mix of bus lane tickets at £130, higher level penalties at £110 and lower level penalties at £60 which gives a weighted average, when using the estimated ticket numbers for the year to March 12, of £98 per ticket.
Thus the lost ticket income is in the order of 35*£98 or approximately £3,400
I do hope Barnet Council penalise NSL for this failure.
Remember, if you get a parking ticket, appeal once, appeal twice, appeal three times. It can be worth it.
Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance