Friday, 2 January 2015

PATAS - to Xmas 14

From 15 to 23 December 14 there were 1,402 new Appeals lodged at PATAS. Of those, 84 were from Barnet which is 6% and higher than it ought to be if Barnet were equally represented at PATAS as between other London boroughs.

The number of actual hearings for Barnet cases was only 21 and of those 15 were won which is 71% so a number of happy motorists with an early Xmas present (deserved naturally).

Very little to tell you about except these two cases in which I repeat the findings of the adjudicators:

Bunns Lane Car Park

This case revolves around a penalty charge imposed for straddling car park bay markings.

The officer colour photographs regrettably show only half a story.

The other half is illustrated in the photographs taken by the appellant.

The appellant is a highly qualified engineer working for a government agency. There is no question in my mind about any "doctoring" of the photographs she has presented. On the basis of these she has a strong case for penalty charge cancellation.

These illustrate how features do in fact block the neighbouring  space from practical use by other motorists (with the possible exception of solo motorcyclists). There is illustrated in the appellant photographs what appears to me to be a damaged steel structure substantially intruding into that neighbouring space and there is also a post with a rubber movable footing. 

It is my conclusion that given that the that adjoining space cannot be seen in practical terms  as a bay and the perimeter marking at the heart of the Council case has no practical function currently, the straddling of the crucial marking cannot properly underlie a valid penalty charge. I have on that basis decided to allow the present appeal. A different conclusion in my view would be preposterous.

I have decided to record that the angles of the officer photographs do appear to have been selected in a way that I have seen as unfair. I regret that I believe I must comment there is a flavour of deliberate  deception in those officer photographs. I would urge the Council to be hesitant in future about pursuing like penalty charges for straddling the particular surface marking which is critical to its case in this particular appeal.

In any event I have recorded this appeal as allowed.

and then an obscure case about advertising your car for sale:

The allegation in this case is using the vehicle in a parking place in connection with the sale or offering or exposing for sale of goods when prohibited. The Enforcement Authority's case is that the vehicle had a note displayed advertising the vehicle itself for sale. They rely on Article 21. of the relevant Traffic Management Order to establish that this is not permitted.

So obscure is the alleged contravention in this case that this is only the 24th appeal against such a PCN according to PATAS records. I note that these involve only 2 Enforcement Authorities and that London Borough of Barnet appear never to have persuaded an Adjudicator to refuse such an appeal.

For my part I take the view that it might be different if a car dealer were parking a fleet of vehicles for sale at a particular location but in the circumstances of this case it is difficult to discern the mischief at which the prohibition is aimed. If the Enforcement Authority are to enforce such an allegation then they must in my view take positive steps to inform the motorist of the prohibition. In the absence of any evidence to this effect I am not satisfied that the signage of restrictions was substantially compliant, clear and adequate to advertise the prohibition and accordingly I allow the appeal.

What the council haven't yet realised is the difference between using your car for street trading, perhaps with a boot stuffed full of cuddly toys that you offer to passers-by at a fiver a time and the perfectly OK practice of putting a sign in your own car, as a private individual, saying that it is itself for sale. Hopefully one day they will get it.

Yours appealingly

Miss Feezance

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