Monday, 25 November 2013

PATAS - w/c 11 November - meter what meter?

This particular week was slightly quieter than other recent ones but still there were 73 cases of which 39 led to cancelled PCN i.e. a 54% success rate.
There were the usual reasons for PCN being cancelled, Barnet Council / NSL throwing in the towel, some confusion over meters, evidence packs sent to the wrong address, copy PCN being produced by Barnet Council / NSL which weren't the same as the original, poor photographs and poor notes and muddled papers.
The council / NSL didn't think there was a parking meter in the Stanhope Rd Car Park. I have seen a queue of people waiting to use their debit and credit cards at it so it must be there. Of course, the staff in Croydon who produce the evidence packs don't have a clue about Finchley, it is simply a far away place on a map. This is one price of outsourcing, the lack of local knowledge.
In a curious case the traffic warden claimed that the expiry date had been altered on a blue badge. It hadn't been.
The council / NSL appeals system is like this case: broken. Thank goodness for the commonsense that you get from the independent adjudicator.

This Penalty Charge Notice was issued because the Enforcement Authority say that the Appellant's vehicle was parked in a resident's permit bay without displaying a permit. Unless the Appellant expressly concedes that the restrictions were properly marked and signed in compliance with the relevant part of the Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002, the Enforcement Authority must first establish with evidence that they were. This is normally done by evidence from the Civil Enforcement Officer who issued the Penalty Charge Notice or the cctv footage if issued following observation by camera, or photographic evidence and/or maps/plans of the area.

The evidence supplied are the notes of the civil enforcement officer who issued this Penalty Charge Notice. The notes do not mention a sign/time plate and whilst the Enforcement Authority have produced a library photograph of the location which shows a sign what is written on it is not legible.

In these circumstances, I cannot be satisfied that this resident's permit bay was correctly signed and so must allow this appeal.

Even if the Enforcement Authority had produced evidence of the sign, I would have still allowed the appeal as I accept the Appellant's case that he could not move his vehicle because of a broken key and that he called out a locksmith to provide a replacement. There is no evidence that the broken key was the Appellant's fault and I find that the exemption that the vehicle is prevented from moving by circumstances beyond the driver's control applies.

There were the usual arguments about whether a PCN was handed to the driver or not.
Here is another adjudicator's report about a single yellow line across a dropped kerb in Rosemont Avenue which might help you at other locations:

Mr E. initially made representations on the basis that his car was parked on a single yellow line and there was a disabled badge displayed. However the Penalty Charge Notice was issued for the contravention of parking adjacent to a dropped kerb. Mr E. appeals as he states that the Penalty Charge Notice should not have been issued because there is no evidence that the occupier of the premises asked for a Penalty Charge Notice to be issued.

A Penalty Charge Notice may not be issued for this contravention when residential premises have a driveway that is not shared with other premises and the purpose of the dropped footway is to assist vehicles to enter or leave the road from or to the highway unless the Enforcement Authority is requested to do so by the occupier of the premises.

I have seen the notes made by the civil enforcement officer, photographs taken on 19th July 2013 and also a photograph from Google Street view showing the location. I find that the evidence shows that the dropped kerb was not outside a driveway to residential premises. Therefore there was no requirement for the occupier of premises to request that a Penalty Charge Notice be issued.

Mr E. refers to Parking and Traffic Appeals Service case 2110067442. In that case an Adjudicator found that it was misleading to mark a location with a single yellow line and a dropped kerb on the basis that as parking adjacent to a dropped kerb is prohibited at all times if the location is also marked with a yellow line it should be with a double yellow line and not a single yellow line.

I am not bound by the decision of another Adjudicator. However the appellant has clearly raised the issue of the appropriateness of marking a location where parking is prohibited at all times with a single yellow line where restrictions are in operation only part of the time. The local authority has referred to this in its case summary but in my opinion has not adequately answered the issues raised.

I find that in the particular circumstances of this case the presence of a single yellow line at a location where there was also a dropped kerb was misleading.

I allow this appeal.
There was the usual case of someone getting a PCN in the minute that they were collecting a Visitor Voucher. The PCN is no more.
A delivery in the course of business was another exemption that was applied and the PCN cancelled. I ask myself why NSL don't cancel PCN when the obvious owner of a business appeals on this basis. The time of business owners is precious and this sort of behaviour could be the final straw that drives them out of the borough.
In a drive away case it was held that the traffic warden had not begun to prepare the PCN so was not prevented from serving it. There is currently an epidemic of traffic wardens issuing PCN in a hurry with them arriving by post.
Here is a case to do with paying your PCN on-line. This has ramifications for anyone who has chosen to pay up in the first 14 days.
Mr J. accepts that the contravention occurred. He believes he made payment of £55 the following day via the council's website. He produced a confirmation printed on 15 May 2013. The authority's position is that they did not receive any payment. Mr J. accepts his account was not debited.

The Authority is only obliged to accept payment of the discounted penalty if payment is made within 14 days of service of the Penalty Charge Notice. The amount is paid when it is received. The full amount becomes payable thereafter. That is the legal position. The authority does have discretion to extend that period.

In this case, payment was not taken because Mr J. had to press the "confirm" button before the transaction could be authorised. The heading on the form stating "Payment Confirmation" is confusing and does lead users to believe that payment has in fact gone through. The authority would be well advised to change this heading to avoid such situations arising in future. Mr J. was clearly not intending to avoid payment and the wording is not helpful. I would therefore strongly recommend that the authority now accept payment of £55 for this Penalty Charge Notice.
Barnet Council / NSL haven't thought about this long and hard as they have already rejected the recommendation which was only made on 16 November. I think they have to tell Mr J. why and doubtless the ambiguity in their system will all be his fault!
Next week, 99 PCN are appealed. You can do your bit to make it 100 a week by appealing every PCN you receive.
Yours appealingly
Miss Feezance 

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