Tuesday, 30 October 2012

PATAS - 48 to 17 - w/c 22 October

A Schwinn with 48-17 gear ratio
Another disastrous week for Barnet Council / NSL with motorists winning 48 cases and the council's parking tickets being upheld in only 14. In the year to March 11 the usual result pattern was about 50/50 but in the following year the outcome changed a little in favour of the council with a typical 64/36 ratio in favour of the council (we could call that 2 to 1 for round numbers)

Now either the council have got better at issuing tickets or motorists are contesting more and not doing a very good job of it. They should look for help from either a professional firm or friends who are expert. The council & NSL do make plenty of errors, you simply have to spot which one they made this time. Start with signs and lines; are they clear, correct and compliant?

Is the PCN (parking ticket) for the correct offence as if not it is immediately invalid? I have seen parking tickets given for not displaying a blue badge when the car was in a loading bay.

The next question is has the process been followed correctly? When I have time I will draw up a flowchart of stages and time limits to assist you.
The interesting cases last week were as follows.
The evidence (of Barnet Council) is at best unreliable and misleading - from the notes of the adjudicator. In addition the photographs were not adequate.
A parking ticket was cancelled for the "contravention" of parking across a dropped kerb with the consent of the resident. Why oh why this has to go all the way to PATAS is a question that Barnet Council & NSL should be asking themselves. They aren't hoping that the motorist will give up and pay are they? (Don't park across a dropped kerb in a CPZ though and not to business premises either).
The danger of postal orders was illustrated when one sent to Worthing for £55 was said not to have been received and now the penalty is £110. I hope the person kept a photocopy of the Postal Order so that they can reclaim their money.
In another case a resident parked across their own dropped kerb and due consideration was not given to representations (I think NSL reject all representations as a matter of course as most people then give in. Don't. Follow the process. The parking ticket was cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case where only the bumper was across the kerb and it didn't stop anyone using the access. The overhang was described as "de minimis" or in English, "not worth bothering about". This was over zealous ticketing by NSL. Ticket cancelled.
It was all dropped kerbs last week. Perhaps that has been one of NSL's recent campaigns to get ticket numbers up. A single yellow line across a dropped kerb at Vineyard Ave (off Bittacy Hill) was described as confusing and misleading and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
Formal representations have to be dealt with within 56 days, which is 8 weeks and more than long enough to reply to a letter. Longer was taken and so the ticket must be cancelled as that is a procedural impropriety. Did that happen to you, did you respond to a Notice to Owner and not hear within 56 days. If you did, then demand the parking demand be cancelled. If you paid, ask for your money back + postage and any costs you incurred.
Lots of parking tickets cancelled by Order of the Adjudicator as usual, which usually means that evidence was not submitted by Barnet Council / NSL which was actually highlighted by the Adjudicator in one case noting that he had granted a 2 week adjournment for that very purpose.
In another cracking piece of work photographs of the wrong car were submitted as evidence. The inevitable result was the cancellation of the parking ticket.
Another dropped kerb in Trinder Rd near Barnet Hospital in which the parking ticket was cancelled. This location has been in the local papers and might be again soon. If not, I will write about it.
One lucky motorist could not safely get his car onto his snow covered drive on or around 8 February (Why are traffic wardens out in the snow issuing tickets? - wouldn't they be better deployed actually clearing snow off of the pavements to help pedestrians - if that was considered to be a good idea the trouble now is that would have to be in the contract with NSL and it isn't and would be a variation which would doubtless be the subject of a demand for extra money ) and so he left it in a residents bay and the Adjudicator did not find that to be an appealing argument. I advise all motorists with sloping drives to lay in a supply of gritty sand and/or rock salt and a large snow clearing shovel (Costco have some) and grit/salt their drive so that you do not get stuck in the same way. Use the council supply of grit to grit on the road outside your house. Go and look now for the nearest yellow grit bin.
Having lost the argument the motorist won the day because the Adjudicator noticed that the date of service of the parking ticket was recorded as 8 February 12 (when there was snow) and the date of the parking ticket was recorded as 30 May 12 (when I hope it doesn't snow). Oops, that is a procedural impropriety and so the parking ticket was cancelled.
In Sunny Gardens Road, the signage was found to be unclear with the signs for single yellow lines considered to be too far apart. Every 60m is recommended. The council / NSL also did not produce clear information about the situation and in such a case ambiguity is usually considered in favour of the negatively affected party i.e. the motorist whose parking ticket was thus cancelled.
Yet another dropped kerb case this time involving a delivery. That is the fourth exception listed in S.86 of the Traffic Management Act 2004. The parking ticket was cancelled. Why didn't the traffic warden know this, NSL know this and act accordingly by cancelling the ticket, Barnet Council know this when they dealt with the formal appeal. It wouldn't be because of pressure to rake in extra money would it?
Possibly my favourite case was the last one that week. The wrong amount was demanded in the rejection notice of a formal appeal. the council/NSL argued that was simply a grammatical error. The Adjudicator was having none of it. It was a serious procedural error which prevented the council from demanding payment. This related to a parking ticket issued on 2 June 2012 so NSL have no-one to blame but themselves.

Please keep those appeals coming.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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