Thursday, May 29, 2008

How one missing sign could cost a council thousands

This one is at St Anns Well Road, Nottingham ... trouble for the council is that there should be a sign on BOTH sides of the road.

Its omission invalidates the Controlled Parking Zone which covers the City Centre.

If the council claims that this is a 'triviality' then at what point does an error by a motorist cease to be a triviality ... 5 mins late back after paying for an hour, 10 mins?

Sorry guys ... you know the law and that's what your highways engineers get £30k+ pa salaries for and your directors and solicitors £100k+.

You get the law wrong and you cannot have the money and cannot keep it in your accounts.
...and this one is in Wigan ... law says white, this is not quite white. Again ... this is not the law therefore cannot be enforced.

Now the penny is starting to drop ... 'unlawfully derived income' ... 'unjust enrichment' ... and for all you councils who have enforced restrictions that you knew were unlawful .... you best get your lawyers checking out the 2006 Fraud Act because there are going to be some seriously angry motorists out there especially those who have had cars seized or goods taken.

Confession they say is good for the soul ... so to all our whistleblowers ... keep those documents coming. Police forces across the country are going to have a busy time as are the District Auditors, complaints officers and parking services.

To all those who have been pursued by bailiffs and have had goods seized ... we have a wealth of information of non-compliant signs, lines and illegal paperwork ... and will tell you exactly how to begin the process.

Islington Parking Blunder ...

The penny is starting to drop as our latest revelations appear on BBC Breakfast ... and it is what we have been saying for years ... that any council whose restrictions are unlawful cannot benefit from motorists who have been misled. This is 'unjust enrichment' and MUST be refunded.

The blunders are not only on signs and lines and Penalty Charge Notices. Here is the latest involving the Traffic Orders, and Islington are not the only council by a long way.

Similarly, monies taken unlawfully must be refunded and Traffic Orders incorrectly drafted cannot be enforced.

Date mistake could be a £1m parking blunder

MORE than £1million in parking tickets could be invalid - claims a campaigner who wants Islington Council to give the money back.Neil Herron, of, believes that a council blunder created a 22-day window in which no parking tickets were valid.During that time, he thinks thousands of fines worth up to £1.8million could have been issued. More ...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Parking Fines "Close to Theft" claims Tory Peer

Parking charge system 'medieval'

Britain's automated parking and traffic fines system has been branded "close to theft" and "medieval" by a Tory peer.

Of the millions of drivers fined per year, fewer than 1% appeal - many over incorrect road markings. About half of such appeals are upheld.

In such cases, councils have no duty to contact and refund other drivers fined wrongly in the same place - which Lord Lucas told the BBC was "exploitation".

However, the Department for Transport says the rules are fair.

Lord Lucas, who chairs the Enforcement Law Reform Group, told the BBC Radio 4's iPM programme:
"It is something that seems to me to be close to theft and it probably would be adjudged as theft if one could ever get it to court."

"It just generally makes people's lives that bit more miserable"
Lord Lucas

When pursued over fines issued incorrectly for reasons such as illegal bus lanes, incorrect box junctions or wrongly delineated parking bays, local authorities "just refund the fine and then you have no course for action", he said.

"So it is extremely difficult to get local authorities to behave properly on this.
"There doesn't seem to be an ombudsman who will take this seriously and central government really just treats this as part of the tax-raising system."

He said recent changes to the rules, which say local authorities should not use the system of fining people and parking enforcement to raise revenue, were not being enforced.
"There is no way in which central government checks that this is what local authorities are doing," he said.

"It really disillusions you, particularly in your relationship to the police, and the local authority. And when they come asking for help, such as dealing with the local drug dealers or trying to keep violence off the streets, you think, 'Are these people really on my side or not?'
"This way of raising revenue, this medieval fashion of taxation, really upsets people cumulatively and makes them less compliant citizens."

"We know that less than 1% of all penalty charge notices issued are challenged, and of those about half are upheld. That suggests that the system is 99.5% right "
Nick Lester (left), Corporate director of services for London councils
But Nick Lester, corporate director of services for London councils, said the system did work.

"We know that less than 1% of all penalty charge notices issued are challenged, and of those about half are upheld. That suggests that the system is 99.5% right."

The Department of Transport said the rules were fair and that it had recently provided new guidance to local councils regarding the use of CCTV and traffic cameras.

But barrister Oliver Mishcon says he believes local authorities who find they have issued a fine incorrectly have a "legal duty to take steps to repay revenue based on the same mistake".
"But many parking services departments have been behaving as though they are above the law," he told the BBC.

The number of penalty charge notices in England & Wales rose between 2005/6 and 2006/7, from 4,856,934 to 4,914,547.

Local authorities collected more than £173m in penalty charge notices in 2007, up £12.5m on the year before - a rise of 7.7%.

You can listen to the programme here
Responses from 'Have Your Say' here

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Parking Victory over Southwark Council

When Donna became so frustrated a Southwark Council's refusal to believe that she had not overstayed parking using her Blue Badge (for her registered blind son) she contacted Parking Appeals.

What makes this case even more offensive is that Donna, a busy Mum with three children one of whom has a disability and a full-time job, supplied video evidence as proof that she was not at the location in question during the period alleged. She had gone to school where she works as a teaching assistant after dropping him off and then returned to pick him up for lunch some three hours later. The Council claimed she had been parked there all that time.

When appeals fell on deaf ears we passed the case over to Oliver Mishcon ... aka Judge Tread.

Southwark capitulated and cancelled the ticket.

This is a warning to all councils out there who think that their glory days of picking on and abusing motorists and vulnerable members of society are going to continue ... you could not be more wrong. Game's up guys ... and all those years where you have thought you were above the law are now going to come back and haunt you.

To the whistleblowers ... keep the information coming, its only a matter of time before this out of control, lawless highway robbery that passes itself off as 'civil parking enforcement' is brought to an end.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Sacked Parking Attendant blows the whistle on council

This Granada TV report surrounds the sacking of Parking Attendant Bob Pickthorpe by Crewe and Nantwich Council after he complained that it was illegal for him to issue in locations which were badly marked and after he had not been trained correctly.

Have you had a ticket in Crewe?

Motorist to sue Lambeth Council over successful CCTV case



Following the ruling on 28th March in relation to Jonathan Greatorex and his successful appeal in the infamous Salters Hill case, PaTAS adjudicator Joanne Oxlade ordered that Lambeth Council pay Mr Greatorex costs, the amount of £176.80 and further ordered that Lambeth pay this amount to Mr Greatorex within 28 days.

Lambeth Council have failed to pay the amount on time and despite reminders by Mr Greatorex, he was left with no other alternative than to issue proceedings via the County Court today (8th May 2008) in order to enforce the debt.

In a statement, Mr Greatorex said, "More than 28 days have now passed since Lambeth were ordered to pay me costs in relation to this case and surprise, surprise, they have failed to do so!
Despite contacting them on several occasions via letter and telephone, I have been left with no alternative other than to issue proceedings in the County Court against them to get them to pay their debt.Their arrogance throughout this whole matter has been just beyond belief! Yet again, they continue to waste taxpayers money through either their own incompetence or sheer bloody-mindedness."
Note to Editors:
Jonathan Greatorex,
telephone: 07958 236045

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Leeds Parking Problems ... similar to Camden, or worse? You decide.

This is the BBC piece on Leeds City Council's parking enforcement regime. You be the judge of its legality. The most powerful quote was not used in the excerpt above so it is listed below and forms part of the file handed to the Police. The names of the Government officials have been obscured but the Police are aware of their identity.

"... attempted fraud or extortion..."
not my words but the words of one Government official to another. Hard to believe? The document we managed to get our hands on (along with many others just as damning, is shown below).

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