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SUCCESS STORY with advice on how to fight unfair PCNs (parking in a business bay without a valid permit)


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Good morning

 

Firstly I wish to extend my thanks for providing the inspiration and the means to support the victims of unscrupulous behaviour.

 

I would like to seek advice.

 

I live in a borough with a known shortage of residential parking spaces.

The Council acknowledge they issue more residential parking permits than spaces available.

 

After a very late and long drive I was unable to park outside my house and so parked my vehicle at the end of my road.

My vehicle was not visible from my window and I had no cause to walk past it for a few days.

 

When I returned to my vehicle it was plastered with 3 x PCNs based on the fact that I had parked in a 'Business Permit Holders' only bay,

which surprised me, because there are to my knowledge no businesses on this road.

 

Considering there is a shortage of parking spaces I was surprised the Council would reserve spaces for businesses as it seems to perpetuate a known problem.

 

I believed (and still do believe) I had reasonable grounds to appeal and did so.

 

My first appeal was rejected so I appealed again providing much more evidence.

My second appeal was rejected.

The Council repeatedly ignored my attempts to discuss the matter further by telephone or in writing.

 

I visited the Council offices and requested to speak to somebody, stating I would even be willing to pay the fines in spite of the fact

I believed they were unfair, on the grounds that a member of the Council would speak with me

so that I could ensure my concerns pertaining to confusing signage, inadequate lighting, etc. were at least acknowledged.

 

I was refused an audience and was forced to wait for a Notice to Owner to appeal further, thus losing my right to pay the reduced fine.

 

The Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service conceded that only 1 of the 3 fines was lawful and ordered me to pay (in full) the first of the 3 PCNs.

 

At the time I was a student and only had £200 in my bank account.

The £110 full fee thus represented over 50% of my entire life savings!

I have now graduated and am seeking employment.

I am receiving Jobseeker's Allowance and my bank balance has not improved!

 

I would like to understand if there are any procedures I can follow to recover £55 from the Council.

This is based on the fact that had they only issued me with 1 x PCN, I would have paid the reduced rate.

I refused to pay on the grounds I was certain the Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service

would cancel all 3 x PCNs because £330 (or even £165 at the reduce rate)

was a ridiculous amount to charge somebody with only £200 in their bank account.

 

Additionally I believe I still have more than legitimate grounds for the original appeal.

There are a number of issues that were not acknowledged by the Council, including:

 

- The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign is unlit.

I was unable to see it in the dark.

It is also taller than the residential signs and thus harder to read in low light conditions.

 

- The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign refers to an 'outside area' but it is not clear what this area is.

- The sign is not adequately differentiated from others in the road.

I believe it is there as a 'trap' to make money from people, particularly seeing as there are no businesses

down a road with a shortage of residential parking spaces.

- The road markings are unclear.

- Although I was parked within 10 metres of the 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign

(the reason I believe Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service did not cancel the original PCN),

I was parked within 5 metres of a 'Residents Parking' sign.

 

Do I have any rights to further pursue this issue?

 

Many thanks for your time.

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Good morning

 

I saw a brief documentary on the BBC last year regarding unscrupulous parking fines.

 

I have been the victim of such a fine and would like to follow up on some of the information I (vaguely) remember from the aforementioned documentary.

 

The documentary stated that if the Council's contract with the parking contractors (i.e. the company that supplies the Civil Enforcement Officers) contains the word 'target' (in other words if it sets targets for an expected income based on the number of PCNs issued per annum) this is technically unlawful.

 

I was thinking of using our good friend the Freedom of Information Act to attempt to obtain a copy of the Council's contract with the parking contractors but am uncertain of any correct procedures or whether the request must contain certain wording, etc.?

 

I am not sure what I would do with the contract if received and it confirms my expectations, but one step at a time hey ;)

 

With many thanks for your time!

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https://www.gov.uk/make-a-freedom-of-information-request/the-freedom-of-information-act

 

 

Don't mention the word you are looking for. You might find the request refused as commercially confidential, but I'm sure you have a million people behind you wishing you luck.

 

 

It might be worth having a search on the BBC site for the documentary as lots of things stay on there for years.

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The Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service conceded that only 1 of the 3 fines was lawful and ordered me to pay (in full) the first of the 3 PCNs.

How can it be that only some are lawful, surely it's either all or none. Did they give you the reasons for this ?

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What's happened is that the council has applied the principle of proportionality, and opted to only enforce the first one. That's quite common and nothing to do with legality.

 

As regards the paid ticket, you can't appeal a closed case. You would have to write to them and request a refund, to open up the case again, then lodge an appeal. It is pretty unlikely you would get the discount reinstated at this stage (it's there to encourage prompt payment) but there are question marks over the sign. Could you give the location, and tell us exactly where you parked, so we can look on Google Maps.

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How can it be that only some are lawful, surely it's either all or none. Did they give you the reasons for this ?

 

I completely agree with you!

 

In fact it's why I decided to appeal with Surrey Parking and Traffic Appeals Service.

 

I knew £330 (or even £165 at the reduced rate) was extortionate for a minor infringement that harmed nobody,

and I didn't think they would be able just to cancel one or two, I thought it would be all or nothing!

 

This is the reason I'm trying to recover claims for at least half of the first PCN.

 

I feel like if the Council had only issued one PCN in the first place and I'd lost 2 appeals, I'd simply have given in and paid £55.

 

I feel like I've been forced to wait for a Notice to Owner in order to present my case to a third party,

and in the process been forced to pay twice the amount I should have!

 

The reason they gave was that the Council were correct to issue the first PCN because I had parked in a business bay without a valid business permit.

 

They did not respond to my argument that I had parked 5 metres from a 'Residents Parking Only' sign,

nor did they acknowledge or address any of my concerns relating to confusing/unlit signage, etc.

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WCould you give the location, and tell us exactly where you parked, so we can look on Google Maps.

The location is KT1 4HY. I parked at the end of Seymour Road furthest from the station, where it curves round to meet with Broom Road. It's a completely residential road!

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I can't see you can argue with what the council has done. You parked where you weren't allowed, and three separate contraventions took place, since each calendar day counts anew. They issued three PCNs, and could have enforced them all. You seem to be arguing that you expected them to cancel all three because the combined total is too much, and that since they only cancelled two (despite you not giving them any other grounds) that you've been treated unfairly.

 

It's not an argument which will get you anywhere. You would need to find better grounds - something wrong with the PCN or signs etc. As I see it, these are your grounds for appeal if you decide to try and fight on:

 

- The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign is unlit.

I was unable to see it in the dark.

It is also taller than the residential signs and thus harder to read in low light conditions.

 

These signs are usually unlit. That won't win an appeal. Drivers are expected to get out and read the signs, difficult or not.

 

- The 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign refers to an 'outside area' but it is not clear what this area is.

 

I am unsure about this. I can see it tagged onto the bottom of the signs, but it's on a separate plate. I think it's a weak line of appeal, but there is an outside chance that would get you somewhere. I think you'd need to look into it further to know.

 

- The sign is not adequately differentiated from others in the road.

 

It says "business" on it!

 

- The road markings are unclear.

 

How? The ones I see on Google look like standard parking bays, outlined with broken white lines. If you can point out how they are unclear, this might be worth taking forward.

 

- Although I was parked within 10 metres of the 'Business Permit Holders Only' sign

(the reason I believe Surrey Parking and Traffice Appeals Service did not cancel the original PCN),

I was parked within 5 metres of a 'Residents Parking' sign.

 

It really doesn't matter what's nearby, or how close it is. The bay should have its own sign next to it, and unless the Residents sign was next to that same bay, it's not relevant.

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Thank you Jamberson. It is a shame that the Council demand extortionate amounts of money from harmless and simple mistakes. Pretty depressing to think there's nothing I can do about it! I will take a look into the parking lines lead though -- thanks for your advice :)

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Thanks to Jamberson's excellent advice, I did some research regarding the bay markings. It turns out that the Council are breaking some rules so I may have grounds for a refund! I have drafted a letter to the Council (exerpt below) for further details.

 

Is anybody able to advise on how best to proceed? Should I simply write to my Council (e.g. Re: Formal Complaint / Demand of Refund), or is there another way to proceed? With many thanks in advance for any help :)

 

After completing some research it has come to my attention that the PCN was unlawful. The road markings delineating the ‘Business Permit Holders’ bay do not conform with the Traffic Signs Regulations and Generation Directions (TSRGD) 2002. Bays without individually marked spaces should start and end with a single row of white lines. I attach some photographs of the ‘Business Permit Holders’ bay from Seymour Road, which shows the bay ends with double white lines. The double white line at the end of the bay is not a permitted variant and should only be used where single bays are marked out.

 

 

It is therefore apparent that I should not have been charged with parking in a ‘Business Permit Holders’ only bay as the road markings delineating this bay do not conform with the Traffic Signs Regulations and Generation Directions (TSRGD) 2002.

 

 

I therefore demand a full refund of £110.00 within 30 days of receipt of this letter. If you do not comply I will take this matter further.

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It's hard to say without being able to see the exact bay you were in. I can see one in that area where old lines seem to be showing through, making it look like there is a double line. If that's the bay you were in, then there's a slim chance you will get somewhere. The rest look OK to me.

 

My only advice would be that you aren't entitled to a refund. If they allow one, it will be a matter of discretion. It does happen, but I would recommend that you avoid phrases like "I demand" and "if you do not comply". You would be better off in my view just writing a polite, calm letter explaining that you would like a refund to reopen the case, in order to bring a challenge which could have a bearing on enforcement at that location - so they are more on-side with you.

 

Anyway, keep us posted if anything happens.

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Thank you again Jamberson :) Fortunately I was parked in the bay that ends with the double line. You are correct that this is simply an old single line and a new single line but they combine to look like a double! I will amend my letter and let you know if anything comes of it. Wish me luck!

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Dear all

 

I am very happy to report SUCCESS!! :smile:

 

Needless to say the Council completely ignored my new evidence and were extremely rude to me. However whilst researching the regulations and requirements for road markings I discovered the following fact:

"all parking and loading restrictions (except bus stops and zig zags) must be accompanied by a Traffic Order which matches the restriction on the street"

 

Naturally I wrote to the Council and requested a copy of the Traffic Order for the 'Business Permit Holders Only' bay. It went quiet for a few days, so I chased it up, and an hour ago I received this email from the Head of Parking Services at the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames:

 

"I have had the Order for the business bay checked and I am not satisfied that everything is as it should be. In view of this I will authorise for you to receive a full refund.

 

Mr Johnson will organise this and let you know when you can expect payment."

 

Jamberson, I never would have discovered this law regarding Traffic Orders had you not kindly taken the time to review my case and recommend that problems with lines delineating the bay was my strongest argument. I send you my sincere thanks :)

 

 

Wishing everyone a great weekend!

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I would like to share an unlikely success story to help advise and empower those fighting unfair PCNS. I hope you enjoy :smile:

 

I live in a borough with a severe shortage of parking spaces for residents.

The Council knowingly issue more parking permits for residents than available spaces

and then cash in when residents are forced to park in an inappropriate bay.

In my road there is a 'Business Permit Holders Only' bay reserved for 6 cars in spite of the fact that there are no businesses on the road!

 

About a year ago I accidentally parked in the 'Business Permit Holders Only' bay.

It was dark and the sign was unlit.

In all honesty I had no idea the Council had reserved spaces for business permit holders due to the aforementioned lack of businesses

and the shortage of parking spaces for residents.

 

I parked my vehicle late on a Wednesday night and had no cause to return to it until 3 days later when I found it plastered in PCNs.

The Council were demanding £330 in total, reduced to £165 if I paid promptly.

 

Needless to say I appealed.

I presented evidence I was a local resident and had already paid £65 for the privilege of parking in the borough

in spite of that my car had been vandalised 3 times in the local area.

 

I raised concerns regarding the fact that the sign was unlit.

I pointed out problems with numerous parking signs down the road which were obscured by foliage, inconsistent and confusing.

I explained that I was confused by the road markings, as the bay begins with a single line and ends with a double.

I explained I found the sign confusing, as it refers to an 'outer area' yet it is not clear what this is.

I was refused all 3 appeals.

 

I appealed again!

The Council cancelled the middle ticket and demanded payment for the first and third. I found this strange

-- either I was right or I was wrong, how could I be one third right and two thirds wrong?!

I decided to appeal to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service as I felt certain I had enough concerns

and evidence for them to cancel the remaining 2 tickets.

 

The appeal with PaTAS came and went.

They cancelled the third ticket but instructed I should pay the first, as I had indeed parked in a

'Business Permit Holders Only' bay without a valid permt.

 

All my concerns pertaining to inadequate lighting, confusing road markings, etc. were completely ignored.

 

I paid the remaining ticket under protest, angry at the fact that had the Council only given me one ticket in the first place

I would probably have simply paid the reduced rate of £55 upon losing my 2 appeals.

I didn't feel I owed anything, but £110 stung a lot more than £55. (I was a student at the time with only £200 in my bank account.

This ticket therefore represented over 50% of my life savings!)

 

A year went by and desperate for money I decided to start researching my consumer rights.

I thought there may be some way to claim the surplus £55 back based on the fact that had the Council acted lawfully

in the first place I would have simply paid the reduced fee and not been forced to wait for a Notice to Owner

in order to discuss the matter with an independent adjudicator.

 

A kind person on this forum reviewed my evidence and suggested that my concerns regarding the road markings was my strongest case for appeal.

I did some research and discovered that the road markings did not conform to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD) 2002.

 

I wrote to the Council and asked them to reconsider my case based on this new evidence

but they refused (and were very rude to me in the process).

 

I did some further research and discovered that:

 

"all parking and loading restrictions (except bus stops and zig zags) must be accompanied by a Traffic Order which matches the restriction on the street"

 

Naturally I wrote to the Council and requested a copy of the Traffic Order for the 'Business Permit Holders Only' bay.

It went quiet for a few days, so I chased it up, and

 

an hour ago I received this email from the Head of Parking Services at the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames:

 

I have had the Order for the business bay checked and I am not satisfied that everything is as it should be.

In view of this I will authorise for you to receive a full refund.

 

Mr Johnson will organise this and let you know when you can expect payment.

 

I wanted to share my story here to help people feel empowered and to inspire everybody to stand up

for their rights and take a stand against authoriarian corruption!

 

Every single person who has ever received a ticket in that 'Business Permit Holders Only' bay

has been bullied into paying money that they do not owe unlawfully.

It is extortionate, greedy and completely unethical.

 

If you are fighting a PCN, be sure to research whether the road markings conform with the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directons (TSRGD) 2002,

and ask the Council for a copy of the Traffic Order matching the bay in which you have parked.

If you uncover any failures or discrepancies here, you will win your case!

 

My ordeal would have been much less painless had I known this in the first place.

Had I presented this evidence to PaTAS they would certainly not have instructed me to pay the remaining ticket.

 

This concludes my epic struggle story -- I hope you enjoyed it.

 

Good luck to anyone fighting an unfair PCN -- my thoughts are with you!

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Well done for persevering :)

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Au contraire, you gave me the lead by advising me on the dodgy road markings! :) Also, it definitely wasn't easy haha. I had to write to multiple different departments, put up with a lot of rude and abrasive communications, and keep asserting that I would be taking this matter further. Don't back down guys! ;)

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