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Found 15 results

  1. After spending some time trying to get housed through Choice Based Lettings on medical grounds, and getting an unfair sense of things within the lettings (after I learnt my top-level Choice Based Lettings bids were not being honoured), me and friends started digging around a little deeper. And the results appear to be disturbing. While it is impossible to share all of our findings on a single forum post, I’ll share some examples. Any advice, opinions, suggestions, etc. are most welcome! The Allocation Scheme states (s.2.7.8 and s.2.7.9): "It is likely that Property Mobility Category 3 properties will be unsuitable for Mobility Category 1 and 2 applicants and that section 2.2.14 will apply. Subject to that, those in Mobility Category 1 will have priority over those in Mobility Category 2 and they will have priority over those in Mobility Category 3 who will have priority over those in Mobility Category 4. When persons within the same Mobility Category bid for an advertised Mobility Category property, priority will depend upon who has the most points and, if equal, whose application is the earliest in time." These rules set out in the Allocation Scheme are not being followed and properties are allocated purely on decisions of the lettings mangers. This is why when I placed my bid for a Mobility 3 property, I was not invited for viewing or contacted about the property despite being in position 2, with mobility 3 priority and 200 points. The property was allocated to a bidder with 150 points instead. Lord Scott - Ahmad case (R Ahmad v LB Newham [2009] UKHL 14) – states: "To allow the choice to depend upon the judgment of a Council official, or a committee of officials, no matter how experienced and well trained he, she or they might be, would lack transparency and be likely to lead to a plethora of costly litigation based on allegations of favouritism or discrimination." We requested for bidding data under the Freedom of Information and we found that people with top priorities are waiting for many years while applicants with Mobility 4 priority and lower points can selectively get housed into Mobility 3 properties within as little as one month! See sample stats attached (go straight to page 2 of the attachment). [to be continued...]
  2. Hi Firstly a big thanks to this forum and the people here for their tips! Recently had a bus lane PCN cancelled by Lambeth Council. Hopefully anyone in a similar situation can benefit from the resources and information below. Judging by the c.£172k (!!!) in average annual income from this single location. This is very nearly almost resembles a racketeering operation by Lambeth Council. No doubt there are some legitimate contraventions, however the nature of this particular area would suggest some motorists are caught out due to failings on the behalf of Lambeth Council to follow Traffic Sign Regulations. Situation On driving southbound on Westminster Bridge Road towards Lambeth North station, unwittingly ended up in a bus lane as road markings and signage was incorrect and/or insufficient (see images). Received a letter a few weeks later with an initial £65 fine if paid in 14 days, or £130 thereafter. Scoured this forum and a few others for some advice as I'm usually quite vigilant with bus lane operating times and didn't recall seeing one. Found some good advice as to how a Bus Lane, and indeed other road systems, should be set-up in ‘The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002’. Went back in person and walked the area, took a few pictures of everything. In particular, the very poor lighting, and blocking (ironically) by parked buses of the first sign; lack of distance between 1st & 2nd signs; potentially unsafe conflict area with pedestrian crossing markings; twisted signs and short road markings and so on. I did this not to be pedantic. One would imagine roads systems are designed to allow road users to travel as safely as possible, giving consistent and recognisable warning of any changes in the road ahead. Our appointed officials must play by the rules if they expect us to, and be held accountable when they do not. Having gathered some evidence I drafted the following letter as an informal appeal: Dear Sir/Madam I am writing to informally challenge the issuing of the above PCN on the following grounds: The bus lane in question is non-compliant with the ‘The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002’ deeming the PCN unenforceable. The restrictions were not correctly signed and the road markings were incorrect. 1. The sign to diagram 958 is not located 30 metres in advance of the lane taper. As shown in the attached image, a sign is only located at the start of the taper. (Fig. 1 – taken 07/11/2014) 2. The sign to diagram 958 is not clearly visible. As shown in the attached image, the sign has been rotated to a position near-parallel to the flow of traffic. Rendering it not possible to safely view from the usual left lane driving position. (Fig. 2 – taken 07/11/2014) 3. The taper to indicate the start of the lane is not the required length or ratio of 1:10. (Fig. 3 – taken 07/11/2014) 4. The deflection arrows to diagram 1014 are not positioned correctly and are not the correct length. There are no deflection arrows upstream of the start of the taper as required. The position the arrows should be, would actually conflict with pedestrian crossing road signs. (Fig.4 – extract from Google Maps on 07/11/2014) 5. The pictures of the alleged contravention supplied on the PCN do not conform to ‘The Bus Lane Enforcement Camera Handbook’ published by the Home Office. Failure to show the correct information in the correct order must prove that the images are not admissible and render them void therefore there is no evidence that any contravention occurred. Therefore the instrument used does not appear to be an approved device. 6. Further, on inspection of the footage provided: a. No buses were hindered in their progress – alleged contravention would be de minimis b. There is no gain in position on another vehicle – alleged contravention would be de minimis c. Any attempt to rectify my driving position would have necessitated a rapid lane change to the adjacent right hand lane before another rapid lane change to the left, in order to turn left at the traffic lights ahead to continue my journey. Actions which I would deem confusing and hazardous to other road users, particularly cyclists. Should these representations be rejected then please treat this as a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 for the following documents: a. A copy of the bus lane order or regulation giving effect to the Bus Lane. b. A copy of the Safety Audit for this road layout. c. A copy of the engineer’s scale diagrams showing the layout of this Bus Lane, the road markings and the signage (including warnings of camera enforcement). d. Copies of any approvals of deviations of signage from The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. e. Logs of maintenance visits verifying existence and condition of the signs. f. Certification of type approval of the CCTV device. g. Details of the number of times that the videotape used has been degaussed and reused. h. A copy of the Camera Enforcement logbook recording the alleged contravention. i. Copies of the still images showing all the required information in the correct order. j. The number of PCNs issued by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location. k. The number of PCNs issued by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location and cancelled by them following informal challenges. l. The number of PCNs issued by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location and cancelled by them following formal appeal to them. m. The number of PCNs issued by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location and cancelled following appeal to a PATAS adjudicator. n. The number of PCNs issued by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location and not pursued by them for any other reason. o. The average monthly penalty revenue raised by London Borough of Lambeth in respect of this location. I ask that you acknowledge this challenge at your earliest convenience and respond with your reply. Yours sincerely, XXX The informal appeal was rejected, to little surprise. Being quite adamant this bus lane was incorrect, I was quite willing to take this the full 12 rounds of appeals PTAS etc. For the formal appeal I sent the same letter, less the FOI requests. After several months of waiting the PCN was then cancelled! I do hope the above is of some use to anyone in a similar situation! Link 1: google maps (retrace your steps!) Link 2: pepipoo.com/lofiversion/index.php/t81781.html Link 3: consumeractiongroup.co.uk/forum/showthread.php?290879-Bus-Lane-PCN/page11 Link 4: davidmarq.com/uploaderv6_1/files/7/PATAS.pdf Link 5: forums.pepipoo.com/index.php?showtopic=92678&pid=992720&mode=threaded&start=#entry992720 Link 6: londonbikers.com/forums/840159/Bus-Lane-Fine,-but-I-think-I-can-get-away-with-it?PageIndex=3 TL;DR Drove in a bus lane as road markings and signage were incorrect. Informal appeal failed, formal appeal successful. £130 saved!
  3. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/11182215/MPs-will-not-get-an-official-cat-to-tackle-Westminsters-mice-problem.html Perhaps the real reason is the cats may attack the overgrown rats lurking in the corridors of power....
  4. More than 5,000 parking tickets will be refunded after "confusing" signs led motorists to park in bays meant for taxis, Westminster City Council said. The refunds, worth about £278,000, are for tickets incurred on dual bays along Oxendon Street, Jermyn Street and Conduit Street between May 2011 and November 2013. The signs put up in 2011 say charges apply between 08:30 and 18:30, but do not state that the dual bays become dedicated taxi ranks after 18:30. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-24950723 Details of how to apply for a refund are on Westminster's website here: http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/transportandstreets/parking/dual-use-bay-parking-ticket-refund/
  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2460919/Fearless-traffic-warden-puts-ticket-Hillary-Clintons-car-London.html This is hilarious !!!
  6. Well well what a surprise !!!! . For a full copy of the article...please see the link at the end of this post...... COUNCIL bosses are under pressure to investigate a possible conflict of interest after it emerged the company that hands out council tax benefit is also in charge of bailiffs that chase unpaid rates. Capita Group have an £11.5million annual contract to manage various services on behalf of Westminster, including collecting council tax and providing advice to residents who apply for reduced rates. When residents fall behind on council tax, private bailiffs are employed to pursue the debt. But unbeknown to them, Equita Ltd, one of the bailiff companies used by Westminster, are owned by Capita Group. It has led to claims of a “pincer movement” against residents as those who are unable to pay full council tax or think they qualify for an exemption have to contact Capita to put their case. If people are unsuccessful, and fail to keep up payments, their debt will pursued by bailiffs who include Equita. Capita say there is no conflict because both contracts were secured after a “rigorous and competitive tender process”. http://www.westendextra.com/news/2013/aug/call-probe-%E2%80%98bailiffs-and-tax-collector%E2%80%99-link
  7. I got a PCN from Westminster and I have already filed an informal appeal. There were 2 signs one above the other right beside where I parked (photo attached). One said "Disabled badge holders only. At any time". The one below said "Mon-Fri 8:30am - 6.30pm. Maximum stay 4 hours, no return within 1 hour". I figured that the top one applied to the bay in front, which was clearly marked disabled and the other applied to the bay in which I was parked (photo attached). It was raining really heavily that day so I couldn't get pictures but I used google maps streetview to get photos and used that for my informal appeal. In the rejection letter, they stated that I was in a residents' bay and there was a sign 12 metres behind my car. I remember reading somewhere that where one restriction meets another, there should be a sign 5metres from either end and there definitely was not. If this 5 metre rule is accurate, could somebody please point me in the direction of the official wording I can use to make a formal representation? Thanks!
  8. . . From the posts on the forum and enquiries that we receive there is little doubt that bailiffs (many times with the agreement of the local authorities) are charging fees that are frankly illegal. Almost always...debtors are forced to pay either because of threatening behaviour by the bailiffs or more often....ignorance of the fee scale. The public really ought to be aware of the scale of the abuse to the fees scale and worryingly, the way in which this is frequented by bailiffs working on behalf of local authorities that contract out their council tax enforcement to "back office" providers such as CAPITA Ltd. As most frequent posters to this forum will know....in almost all cases where CAPITA Ltd are the "back office" providers...the Contract to provide bailiff services is strangely awarded to EQUITA Ltd. This is a very common scenario and in fact, affects two of the largest local authorities in the Country.....Birmingham City Council and Westminster Council. For anyone new to this forum......Equita Ltd are owned by Capita Ltd. Approx 10 days ago we received an enquiry from a sole trader who has a small office in Westminster and a Liability Order had been issued against his business for arrears of Non Domestic Rates in late Feb 2013 March and payment required by 6th March. He contacted Westminster approx 4 days late and and was told that the account had been referred to EQUITA Ltd. Strangely, he was even given the name and contact details for the bailiff !! As mentioned above, he was just a few days late in making payment !! He contacted the bailiff on the telephone to make the payment in full of approx £3,000 and was staggered to be told that there must have been an error and the amount needed to clear the debt was £750 more that he thought. It was at this stage that the debtor spoke with me and I advised him to speak with the bailiff to ask whether any visits had been made. The bailiff confirmed.....no visit had yet been made. My advice.....was to make payment of the full amount to Westminster Council and to write a letter of complaint. Predictably of course...the complaint to Westminster was answered by Capita Ltd and the following is taken from their reply: Equita Ltd is indeed part of the Capita Group however both areas of the business have separate Contracts with the City of Westminster which are monitored. To date, no evidence of a conflict of interest has arisen. I note your comments with regards to Mr xxx and the bailiff fees (of £750). Equita Ltd has advised me that the amount quoted to you was the POTENTIAL figure that WOULD have been due IF THE BAILIFF HAD ATTENDED and Levied on goods with the intention to remove if payment was not made. The case has now been returned by Equita Ltd and the balance is now nil. How many other small businesses and individuals have paid this fee without question !!!! If this is how local authorities are treating small companies is it any wonder that we have businesses closing at such a rapid rate......
  9. Evening All I am a chauffeur company who is fully licenced in Surrey all be it plate exempt so no signage at all. I drove my clients tot he St Martins Lane Hotel and dropped them outside the doors which happens to be a taxi rank ( Empty at time) I took a total of approx. 1-2 minutes to open the doors for my passengers and then drove off again and now I have a £130.00 fine. Is this legal as I am a private hire vehicle and can prove it with documentation.
  10. Please help. My bisuness went into an uexpected meltdown yesterday during a visit by a lone bailiff sent by Westminster council. The visit was in connection with a long running dispute about business rates charges which we felt had been settled. They are also demanding for the periods 2010-2011 before which time the branch of our business had closed down. They are aware of this as we notified them in writing ahead of time. Despite numerous requests made to both Capita (revenue collection agency) and Westminster, they simply continue to send the bailiff - Equita and now "Newlyn", who inturn continue to deemand conflicting figurse. The lone baliff turned up at a branch of the company which is also a franchise owned by someone else. He forced his way in by violently pushing the female employee against the wall while he shouted exlentives and racist words at the employee. I arrived ta the scebe moments later only to find the other employee crying, visibly frightened. He disregarded my niceties and demanded to pay up cash and in full or he would have our goods removed. Despite my explanations, including the fact that the franchice is owned by someone else, that the the equipment he is tryng to remove belong to third parties, he simply shouted a torrent of insults at me. I called in the landlord who also owns all the furnitures and some of the equipment. The landlord forced him into a retreat by thretrening to sue him and Westminster council if he removed any of his goods. Meanwhile my partner is now going around to raise some money. The bailiff changed his mind again and demanded well over £9000.00 which we definitely did not owe. The landlord called in the police who could not do much. In fact the female police officer tried her best to assist the bailiff. The bailiff calked in the van and they began to remove our belongings. Hoewer there were three branded freezers which did not belong to us. Despite the owners speaking to him on the phone about their clearly branded Movenpic equipment supported by contarct that we signed confirming the third party as the owners, the bailiff simply instructed the removal people to put big tubs of ice creams from all the freezers on the floor. They took all the freezers away while the contents were left behind on the floor, melting away. It was at this point that I realised that he wasn't keeping any inventory of the good he was removing. He got upset and shouted a few nasty words at me. At the end of it all, the baliff took away more than he listed on the inventory, caused some damage to the landlord's furniture and the wood floor, left all our dairy products - ice creams lollies, frozen pastries & savouries, etc on the floor. The whole scene were witnessed by the landlord's agents who stood by to discourage him from touching their property. Can someone please advise as the bailiff has effectively shut down our business, Westminster is not talking to us, Capita continue to apply different positions depending on who answers the pone when we call. Is there a legal recourse? How do we embark on this. Your assistance will be greatly appreciated. Shalom12
  11. Westminster council is trialling a new technology to make it easier to find an on-street parking space. It's early days but the technology seems to work, albeit a very small trial covering just a handful of streets Throughout October 2012, you can download an app that will allow you to see if an on-street parking space is available on an individual road. If the Bay Sensor trial continues to be a success, the council will evaluate it and decide if the scheme can be rolled out city-wide. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-19732371 http://www.westminster.gov.uk/services/transportandstreets/parking/bay-sensor-technology/
  12. Dear all, I was given a ticket on 23.05.2012 within three minutes of paying for my scooter parking by text message. As many of you know, City of Westminster only accept 'pay by phone' and have done for a few years now. There was a delay in receiving my parking ticket SMS text message. I received the confirmation SMS text at 11.42am. The parking ticket was issued at 11.39am. I SMS'd for the parking ticket at 11.38am. I note Westminster operate a three minutes 'allowance' for parking meters and pay and display bays. I also understand he same principle applies to all the other parts of the protocol where a 3 minute allowance is given. Westminster have replied with the following (by letter), also attached with Notice to Owner document. "Your challenge against this PCN has been rejected because your vehicle was observed by the CEO for 6 minutes." Advise sought. Best wishes, ShivaYash Westminster PCN 23.05.2012 forum.pdf
  13. Dear all, (this is a re-post as suggested by another forum user) I was given a ticket on 23.05.2012 within three minutes of paying for my scooter parking by text message. As many of you know, City of Westminster only accept 'pay by phone' and have done for a few years now. There was a delay in receiving my parking ticket SMS text message. I received the confirmation SMS text at 11.42am. The parking ticket was issued at 11.39am. I SMS'd for the parking ticket at 11.38am. I returned to the scooter at 1.30pm to find the PCN attached to the wing mirror. I note Westminster operate a three minutes 'allowance' for parking meters and pay and display bays. I also understand he same principle applies to all the other parts of the protocol where a 3 minute allowance is given. Westminster have replied with the following (by letter), also attached with Notice to Owner document. "Your challenge against this pcn has been rejected because your vehicle was observed by the CEO for 6 minutes." Advise sought. Best wishes, ShivaYash Westminster PCN 23.05.2012 forum.pdf
  14. Hi i hope there is someone who can help me. The scenario is that i had a nat west loan and due to divorce ended up having to go to a debt managament company bad idea - yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing, the DMC sold me down the river by missing payment to the Nat West, who proceeded to get a CCJ and subsequently a charging order. I am trying to get this set aside. For over a year i have been trying to establish with Nat West the terms of the PPI, in a nut shell they have said: Loan Start Date: 13/09/200 Monthly Payment: £68.64 * 120 months = £8263.80 and this what they have offered as settlement, so my questions are: 1. Should this include interest at 8% 2. Is this suffient information to set aside the CCJ/Charging order on the basis that the amount claimed was incorrect. Any thoughts, pointers or assistance would be greatly appreciated. Thanks
  15. After painstaking research, edit discovered that Westminster City Council have been fining drivers for obeying the law! The Traffic Management Order permits going straight ahead into Sherwood St from Lwr James St, Soho, but WCC erected non-compliant signs, without authority, to enforce a left turn into Brewer St. Those who did not comply were fined! Fortunately, it was nipped in the bud after nearly 400 £120 PCN's were issued in December or this highway robbery could have netted up to £500,000 per annum. It looks like this is not the only case and more are being examined. WCC have increased their fleet of these cars from 2 to 7, so expect more desperate measures.
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