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gplatt2000

Leeds Council PCN - parking where sign hidden behind scaffolding

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Hi all

 

This is my first post on here, seems a helpful place so your opinions would be great.

 

A few weeks ago I parked in Leeds city centre (on my way to visit the council actually...), didn't see anything on the street indicating it was a controlled area, so jumped out and walked to the council building accross the road.

When I came back out, I was shocked to find a ticket on my windscreen. I read the ticket and then had a thorough look around the street and did actually find (after a really decent look round) a Oay & Display sign -obscured by some scaffolding. To me this is obviousy unfair - I genuinely didn't realise it was a controlled street and the sign certainly isn't clear (see photos)

 

I wrote to dispute the ticket (informal dispute) and assumed I'd get the PCN cancelled no problem - but no such luck! Please see the scanned copy of the council's letter below. They first say 'there are signs in the area which state that failure to display a valid voucher will result in a £50 fine'. However, they then accept that 'the sign was not immediately obvious due to the scaffolding' but then say 'it is the responsiblity of the motorist to check to restrictions' - which seems contradictary as it's tough to check when they're hidden behind metal poles!

 

I'm then invited to challenge this PCN formally once an NTO is issued. However, I only get the discounted rate if I pay up within 14 days (after having the initial 14 day discounted period extrended) - if I challenge and then fail, I have to pay the full £50*

 

Just wondered what your opinions were, based on the description above and the photos attached - I made an honest mistake and genuinely expected a quick cancellation of the PCN (perhaps foolish having since heard loads of bad things about Leeds' parking restrictions/road markings...).

So, what are the chances of me winning - should I fight it (seems the moral thing to do) or should I just pay up and not risk paying the full fine?

 

 

-------

*This also seems extremely harsh to me, almost like blackmail. To quote the letter - 'I can offer you a further 14 days from this letter to pay at the discounted rate...after this period the full amount of £50 will be due.....if you are unsuccessful [in challenging the PCN] the full penalty of £50 will apply' - not nice!

Edited by gplatt2000

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Imeges of Leeds Council's respsone attached below:

 

letter1.gif

 

letter2.gif

letter3.gif

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Images A, B and C below show the sign being obscured (my vehicle is the red van):

 

a.JPG

b.JPG

c.JPG

Edited by gplatt2000

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Images E, F, H and I all show the lack of signs on the street - the obscured sign was the ONLY sign on my side of the street.

 

e.JPG

f.JPG

h.JPG

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Image I shows no signs on entrance to street either (though the council's reply says there are signs on the entrance to the controlled parking zone - however, I've never seen these, don;t know where the zone starts/ends, and they failed to point this out to me in their response - maybe I shuold telephone and ask for evidence??)

 

i.JPG

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I also wrote the following in the letter I sent the council:

 

"I should also point out that even if this sign hadn’t been obscured, it would still be very easy to think the street wasn’t in a pay & display area as there were so few signs with such a large distance between them – indeed, the obscured sign was the only sign on the side of the street where I was parked. According to the 2002 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, in an area with parking bays at the side of the road there should also be signs within 5m of each end of the parking bays – photos C, D and H show that this clearly isn’t the case on Rossington Street. Photo ‘I’ also shows that there were no signs on the entrance to Rossington Street indicating that the driver is entering a pay & display area. I know that Leeds Council has many problems with poor road markings & signs and has been investigated by the police for issuing illegal parking tickets (as reported in the Yorkshire Evening Post, 28th April 200, so perhaps addressing Rossington Street’s problems should be a priority."

 

 

The issue in bold above seems enough grounds on its own to dispute this ticket? (Though I'd ratehr not have to rely on this 'technicailty' as my genuine missing of the obscured sign is the real issue here!)

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Sorry about the length of this and number of replies! Looking forward to your thoughts (shuold mention, that if I do just pay then I need to do this before the 21st to keep the discounted rate....)

 

Thanks again

 

Gavin

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have you parked there and visited the council before?

you appear to know the area?

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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Hi dx, thanks for your reply - I've only just moved to Leeds and this was my first time parking in the city centre (other than in multi-stories). I was visiting the council to sort out council tax for the new house, and I actually phoned up in advance to ask about parking and get directions, was advised to park on street (if only they'd mentioned it was P&D!)

This was a genuine error, maybe if I'd spent a long time really checking I could've found the sign but I think this isn't a realistic expectaation - if the sign had been obvoius, I'd have paid, it's that simple really!

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well thats clarified things.

 

 

i think you're on a loser but its a real shame .

 

there are a few far more knowledgable ones on here

 

 

i'm sure they'll be around soon to help

 

you might well have a good case here.

 

sadly not my best subject..

 

dx


please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

 

if everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's tomorrow

the biggest financial industry in the UK, DCA;s would collapse overnight.

 

 

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According to the 2002 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, in an area with parking bays at the side of the road there should also be signs within 5m of each end of the parking bays – photos C, D and H show that this clearly isn’t the case on Rossington Street.[/quote]

 

Where is this in the TSRGD? The guidance from the dept of Transport is 15m from the end of the bay or if bay is only 30m mid point will suffice.

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Green and mean -I found that on a website dedicatecd to ticket fighting but herhaps they were wrong/typo. The bays I think were under 30m long so I guess that one (obscured) sign is legally OK after all. But I don't want this technicality to become the main issue anyway - and if there is just the one sign then it definitely should be visible!

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Green and mean -I found that on a website dedicatecd to ticket fighting but herhaps they were wrong/typo. The bays I think were under 30m long so I guess that one (obscured) sign is legally OK after all. But I don't want this technicality to become the main issue anyway - and if there is just the one sign then it definitely should be visible!

 

No problem just didn't want to give them a chance to make you look wrong, the Traffic Signs Manual chapter 3 is the best source of info on signage especially for the layman as its in plain english, sometimes the TSRGD is hard to understand.

 

http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/roads/tss/tsmanual/tsmchapter3.pdf

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I think that parking in any town these days, you are expected to be aware that there are likely to be parking restrictions in place. The Council will take the view that if you see a marked bay and steer your car into it, you know it's there and are responsible for actively checking for signage.

 

If the sign was impossible to read then I think you'd have a better case. But judging from the photo, it looks like it's visible, just awkward to read because of the scaffolding poles. I don't think you'd win an appeal on this basis alone.

 

By paying it now, you will be closing the case down and won't be able to appeal further. Unfortunately you don't retain an option on paying the discounted rate if you want to fight on and lodge further appeals, so it's a gamble between settling now or appealing at the full charge.

 

I very much doubt you will get a substantive reply to your second letter, as another appeal at this stage would be outside of the normal appeals framework.

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I have some sympathy in your case as there are one or two similarities in comparison with a Council PCN I received about 4 years ago which I succesfully appealed at the initial stages prior to NTO.

 

However, I do not believe that you will be so fortunate. I'm afraid that making a genuine 'honest mistake' & ignorance of the law are not defences.

 

My view therefore is similar to Jambersons' - there cannot be many (if indeed any) streets/locations in our city/town centres where there are no parking restrictions in place. For you to have assumed otherwise & not 'checked it out' throughly in the central area of a major city like Leeds, is, if I may say so, somewhat naive & unreasonable. It is not my intention to be unduly judgemental or critical of you by stating this, but facts are facts.

 

I'm not famiIiar with central Leeds, but were there any Pay & Display payment machines on the street to obtain the vouchers you mention, the presence of which would have also given you a clue?

 

My advice/opinion, FWIW, is to take this one on the chin, pay the £25, write it off to experience, learn from it & get on with your life.

 

Of course, you may still decide to go 'double or quits' and continue with the appeals processes, but it's a gamble & you will probably lose - is it really worth the hassle & time involved for the sake of £25.

The choice is of course entirely yours - if you do decide to appeal, I wish you the best of luck.

Edited by StrawDog
Typos

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Hi guys

 

Thanks a lot for all your help, really appreciated even if it's not exactly what I'd hoped to hear. I can see where you're ocming from - perhaps I should've just assumed it'd be P&D and had a thorough look around, but there are ltos of 'max stay 2 hrs' and similar bays around Leeds (I've been noticing everything since this ticket...) so I still think it's unfair how uclear the signage is. So, whilst I woudl prefer to try challenge the PCN, I'm going to just do the quicker & easier thing and pay the £25 ratehr than risk payign double, especiallya s I'm going on holiday tomorrow so just want to get this out the way.

 

Thanks again

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