|A stuffed balloon bear|
There were 113 Barnet decisions at London Tribunals in September 16. Of those only 54 were won by the motorist, down from 60% in August to 48%. The balance has tipped in favour of Barnet Council due to at least 13 yellow box junctions cases which were lost. You need a good argument to beat a yellow box PCN.
The following 8 decisions, in the words of the adjudicator from the public register, give you useful pointers on various questions:
Saracens repeat signage in past this point areas - Longfield Avenue NW7
The Appellant, whom I have heard in person in some detail, parked his vehicle in what was a permit parking area operational on event days (having previously parked it on private premises). Seeing no bay markings or other signage he saw no reason why he should not park on this unmarked length of carriageway. His case is essentially that the signage indicating that a permit was required to park there was inadequate.
Permit parking areas generally have been incorporated into the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions since January 2012 (-before that, specific authorisation from the Department for Transport was required). In the present case the “event day” wording nevertheless remained non- standard and prior to the 22nd April 2016 required authorisation - a copy of which the Council has provided. After that date, when the current incarnation of the Regulations came into force, “event day” wordings are permitted as standard. The upshot is that this a legally prescribed form of signage; and motorists are of course presumed to be aware of the meaning of legally prescribed traffic signs.
As in all event day cases where signs can be varied to show a day as an event day the Council is required to show that the sign was correctly set. The Council’s evidence that this was so, in the form of a very brief reply to an e-mail enquiry and an undated photograph, is a little thin. There is no direct evidence of the sign being changed and when. However in the absence of any definite evidence from the Appellant that the sign was not correctly set (-he can go no further than saying he did not notice whether it was-) I will accept, for the purposes of this decision at any rate, that the balance of probability lies in favour of it being set to display the event day wording.
However that is not the end of the matter. It is true that in a permit parking area bay markings are not required; that is the main point of introducing such an area. However it does seem to me that some sort of repeater signage is required within these areas unless they are very short single roads. The Traffic Signs Manual Chapter 3 para 7.15 suggests that this might be necessary; and certainly it is used in the event day permit parking areas for the Wembley Stadium Zone. In the case of Restricted Parking Zones, another example of a Zone with no carriageway markings, repeater signage is recommended. The Appellant states that he parked 500m from the signs; and whether or not this is precisely accurate it was certainly a considerable distance from the entry point, and he did not park there initially. It seems to me that this is a case where for clarity repeater signage is required, and that a motorist on parking on an unmarked length of carriageway should be able to see at least something to alert him to the fact that all may not be well if he parks there.
I am therefore not satisfied, on the facts of this particular case, that the signage, though not unlawful, was adequate to bring the restriction relied on the Appellant’s attention. It follows that no contravention occurred and the Appeal is allowed.
Time to obtain a voucher
The appellant has explained when attending on 2 September how he and his 2 year old had travelled up to Barnet with a view to taking out on the Friday concerned his mother. Her house was just by where the car was ticketed. The appellant told me he was well aware of the short daily restriction.
The officer did not see the motorist in this case and as there was no visitor permit or the like displayed he was not at fault in swiftly issuing the penalty charge notice as he did.
The appellant told me of his mother's worsening Parkinson's Disease. Although there was no permit on view at the time I have accepted that a reasonable time was not exceeded in obtaining a necessary permit from his mother and a reasonable time was also not exceeded for assisting her to the vehicle.
I have decided on this basis the appeal is properly allowed.
Chilton Rd HA8, low level sign
I accept the appellant was genuinely not aware of the practice in parts of Enfield (oops, Barnet) of using low-level signage to indicate the status and extent of restrictions. He told me how he had arrived when it was dark and how organisers of the wedding festival function being attended had regrettably, not alerted him to the long hours restriction locally. I have accepted he parked in genuine ignorance of the restrictions and genuinely failed to see the low-level sign as photographed by the reporting officer. I have on the signage issue and its prominence decided there is insufficient evidence to uphold the penalty charge in this particular case.
I have recorded the appeal as allowed.
Zig zags & a 3 point turn
The allegation in this case is that the vehicle was stopped in a restricted area outside a school, a hospital or a fire, police or ambulance station. Mr. X does not in fact dispute this but he says that he only stopped in order to perform a three-point-turn.
The enforcement camera DVD shows the vehicle stopped on the area marked by the school markings and then beginning to perform the three-point-turn. While it was a poor decision to perform this manoeuvre beginning on the school markings, the vehicle is shown stopped on the school markings for only 6-7 seconds. I would regard this as stopping as part of a traffic manoeuvre and not subject to the prohibition. Alternatively I would treat the stop as ‘de minimis’, too trifling to amount to the contravention. Accordingly I allow the appeal.
Yellow box - cctv does not show entering
There is no dispute as to the whereabouts of the vehicle, at the time, on the material date; namely at a location subject to an operative restriction denoted by yellow cross-hatching, such demarcation indicating a prohibition against a vehicle entering and stopping within the defined area due to the presence of stationary vehicles.
The Enforcement Authority assert that the said vehicle entered the defined area and stopped.
Mr T denies liability, on behalf of the Appellant, for the ensuing penalty charge notice contending that the manner of driving of a vehicle ahead caused the said vehicle to become so positioned, which he reiterated and comprehensively detailed at the Hearing.
The Enforcement Authority who assert that the said vehicle was so driven contrary to the operative restriction are obliged to adduce evidence to the requisite standard to substantiate that assertion.
The evidence upon which the Enforcement Authority rely comprises the certified copy Penalty Charge Notice together with photographic evidence: CCTV footage and still frames taken there-from revealing the said vehicle in situ and the applicable carriageway markings notifying motorists of the restriction.
Whilst it is incumbent upon a motorist to be acquainted with [by reference to The Highway Code], and comply with, such prohibitions, I note the length of the cross hatched area and query whether the Enforcement Authority is possessed of a Secretary of State's Authorization for the same.
The restriction, as set out in Paragraph 11 of Part 7 of Schedule 9 to The Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2016 / Paragraph 7 (1) of Part 11 of The Traffic Signs Regulations & General Directions 2002, as amended, prohibits vehicles (or parts there-of) from entering and stopping within the cross-hatched area due to the presence of stationary vehicles.
The evidence adduced does to establish an essential element, the entering aspect, since at the point that the contemporaneous capture commences the said vehicle is already traversing the cross-hatched area.
It is not possible therefore to evaluate this pertinent aspect in conjunction with Mr T's representations; Mr T maintains that he had already commenced the manoeuvre on the basis that there was sufficient space to accommodate the said vehicle on the other side of the defined area, when a vehicle swiftly entered that space from the left.
I found the Mr T's evidence to be cogent and credible and I accepted it in its entirety, making a finding that the said vehicle was rendered stationary on the cross-hatched area by a vehicle impeding its path.
Evidentially I cannot satisfied that the contravention occurred, accordingly I allow this Appeal.
Yellow box - cctv does not show the reason for stopping
CCTV observed the vehicle enter the yellow box junction in West Hendon Broadway on 28 May 2016. The Appellant driver states he entered the box junction with his exit clear and the vehicle in front of him stopped unexpectedly for no reason as he had a clear lane ahead. The enforcement authority state there was no evidence to show the vehicle came to a stop for no reason. The CCTV evidence does not show that area of the road whereas the driver had a clear view from his position in the cab.
I have viewed the CCTV evidence a number of times and I am satisfied that the vehicle did not enter the hatched area before the other vehicle had left the area. The vehicle in front of the truck does appear to come to a halt and the CCTV does not appear to show a vehicle in front of that vehicle. Therefore the enforcement authority cannot say the vehicle was stopped for no reason as there is no evidence to suggest it had to stop due to other traffic. It is clear from the CCTV that the Appellant’s vehicle drove straight across the junction and stopped due to the other vehicle which left him partially in the hatched area. The driver states the road ahead was clear ahead and there was no obstruction to cause the vehicle in front to stop. He had the better view at the time.
Having carefully considered the CCTV evidence a number of times I cannot be satisfied there was a valid reason for the vehicle in front to stop where it did. The enforcement authority’s evidence does not show any reason due to the position of the CCTV camera. The evidence of the Appellant is more compelling in his account of the vehicle stopping without due reason. Therefore there is a doubt in this case and that doubt must necessarily be resolved in favour of the Appellant. The appeal is allowed.
Saracens signage - again - Woodcote Avenue
This PCN was issued for the alleged contravention of being parked in a permit space or zone in Woodcote Avenue at 3.46pm on 30 January 2016 without clearly displaying a valid permit.
I have looked at the CEO's images. These show Z's car parked in Woodcote Avenue where there were no bay markings. The images show no signage of permit parking restrictions in Woodcote Avenue itself. The Council relies upon signage at the junction of Salcombe Gardens as being adequate to alert motorists to the restrictions in Woodcote Avenue.
I am allowing this appeal because I do not consider the signage of the restrictions to be adequate. The Council submits google images of the junction of Salcombe Gardens and a close up image of a permit holder only restriction sign "past this point" on Event Days between 1pm and 6pm. There is a next event panel at the foot of the sign.
The Council correctly states that there is a sign on both sides of Salcombe Gardens. However, the sign on the right hand side of the road is past the left hand turn into Woodcote Avenue and is therefore unlikely to be seen by a motorist entering Woodcote Avenue. It may be adequate to alert motorists driving along Salcombe Gardens but it is not adequate for motorists making the left turn.
There is a sign on the left hand side of the road facing the oncoming traffic and this is placed at the junction. It is, however, not clear whether the "past this point" restriction means past this point for traffic continuing along Salcombe Gardens or past this point for traffic making the left turn into Woodcote Avenue. Furthermore, it appears from the google image that cars park on the road immediately before the junction. If a car is parked as shown in the image, it will inevitably make the restriction sign less likely to be seen as it will not be in the direct eye line of the motorist making the turn.
Stuffed balloon bears
A Penalty Charge Notice was served on the vehicle for being parked in a pay bay without a payment having been made on 25 May 2016 in Golders Green Road. The civil enforcement officer observed the vehicle from 10.47 to 10.52 when the Penalty Charge Notice was issued. The notes were made at 10.57 and no activity was seen.
The Appellant made representations in response to the Notice to Owner and supplied an invoice to show he was delivering “stuffed balloon bears”. He explained that due the nature of the items and their vulnerability there was a requirement to park as near as possible to the place of delivery. The enforcement authority rejected the evidence as the invoice did not show where the delivery was in Golders Green Road. The only reference was I Fontein. A further invoice shows the delivery to be 102 Golders Green Road and from the map provided by the enforcement authority this was near where the vehicle was parked.
I am satisfied on the evidence this was a genuine case of unloading and the Appellant was permitted to park and unload. Eleven minutes was not unreasonable length of time to be away to make such a delivery. Mr B. may benefit in future from leaving a note when making such a delivery. The appeal is allowed.
What the above decisions show is that it is worth the time to watch the yellow box cctv a few times and see if you shows you entering the box and why you stopped.
I fear that Barnet Council won even more cases in October 16 but we'll see soon.
Keep those Appeals coming.