Sunday, December 16, 2007

The power of the blog ... and the Parking Appeals Blogger

If there was ever any doubt as to how fearful the authorities are of what we are exposing one need look no further than this little example.

It also clearly shows that what we are saying with regard to non-compliant lines and signs is correct and that the authorities are worried about a Judicial Review on the subject ... which could be a very costly one indeed when they lose ... hence their reluctance to engage.

The story begins over a year ago when we were tipped off about a non-compliant bay in Leeds. It was useful because we could tie it in with a trip to Manchester where we intended to get a PCN outside the offices of the National Parking Adjudication Service in Minshull Street ... to highlight the fact that they were not independent. The story was blogged here

A Penalty Charge Notice was issued on 7th October 2006. However, Manchester City Council were monitoring the blog. As a result of papers only just released under the Freedom of Information Act after waiting months, the story is quite incredible.

It is revealed that MCC's Information Compliance Officer had noted that reference had been made on the blog to Neil Herron receiving a PCN in Minshull Street. The council then took 'the reasonable step' of 'reviewing the road marking at that location.'

Are you afforded the same luxury BEFORE you raise the matter if indeed at all?

However, the bay was found to be defective and re-lining works were carried out on 17th October 2006. The council in their letter of 28 November 2007 thank me for bringing it to their attention ... but funnily enough they forgot to inform me or thank me at the time.

On 20th October 2006 Graham Marsh of Manchester Parking issued an e-mail in which he states:
"Following confirmation that the P&D Bays outside the NPAS offices on Minshull Street are not properly lined, can you ensure that PCNs are cancelled, and Enquiries/Reps are accepted.
David Wilkinson should be able to confirm which bays are involved.
You should note that from the attached e.mail Neil Herron claims to have received a PCN of Friday 6th October. Given that we have now confirmed that the bays are not correctly marked, can we please ensure that we do not put Mr. Herron to any further inconvenience and cancel his PCN."

You would have thought at that point at least some alarm bells would be ringing. But no, a Notice to Owner was issued on 1st February 2007 (although I never received it) but the PCN was cancelled on 6th February (although I was never told).

Chasing matters by telephone on 28th February to see why there was such a delay in sending out my Notice to Owner I was told that the PCN had been cancelled due to 'Parking Attendant error.'

So, if you have received a Parking Ticket at this location BEFORE 20th October 2006 did the Council cancel it or did they take your money.
If you have paid a PCN at this location then because the council have admitted that the signs were incorrect then it follows that the Traffic Regulation Order was not in force ... and so a refund is in order.

I am sure that the Manchester Evening News will be interested in the fact that the council actually watches my blog to ensure that wherever I park they can immediately dispatch a team to check the legality 'of their own restriction!'

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