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Bonkers Blog March 2013

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24 March (Part 1) - Courting trouble

Few will doubt that Bexley council’s parking services regard themselves as above the law, they admitted to the retired policeman that they don’t bother with such trifles as the first stage appeal and not so long ago the Parking Adjudicator took them to task for only allowing 13 days for that appeal instead of the statutory 14. When they are forced to consider an appeal they are frequently unreasonable and totally lacking in common sense.

If it were not for readers I would not know that phone parking can involve phonetics, speaking your registration number into a voice recognition computer while standing by a busy road; a recipe for a goodly number of mistakes I would have thought. A Bonkers reader tells me he has fallen foul of exactly that. His registration number includes three Ls and one was missed by the machine. It took his money without checking that the given number does not exist and when he returned to his car it was adorned with a PCN.

Anyone with a brain would recognise what had happened and waived the fee but brains are in extraordinarily short supply at Parking Services so now the case has gone to court. Just how much of our money are these useless bureaucrats prepared to waste? I am reminded of the comment in the News Shopper some four or five years ago. Bexley council has been taken over by a mob of nasty, evil people who seem to thrive on other people’s pain and hurt.

BBC reportOn 11th February a blog drew attention to a BBC report to the effect that the signs Bexley tapes to lamp post when it suspends parking bays do not comply with the regulations. They are not of an approved type and Bexley has not sought permission to vary them. At the following Public Realm meeting cabinet member Gareth Bacon told councillor Malik that that didn’t matter, he claimed a court had confirmed it. (N.B. This fact was not reported in the blog.)

Since then, John Watson of the Bexley Council Monitoring Group has received FOI confirmation from the Department of Transport that Bexley has no dispensation to use non-standard signs. The Parking Adjudicator has not been supporting councillor Bacon’s assertion and the Barnet bloggers have been covering this same issue. One has reproduced a couple of very recent PATAS judgments. According to PATAS their reference case covering non compliant temporary signage is Campbell v Camden. Case reference 2090523567. (You may have to go to their search page and input the number directly as the PATAS site is notoriously unresponsive to direct page accesses.)

I think the key phrase may be: “The statutory instrument is the TSRGD. The upshot is that the Council is required to prove the presence not of any sign, however clear, but a sign that is either specified in the TSRGD or authorised by the Secretary of State.

PATAS is still inclined to follow this ruling and the Dept. of Transport confirms that Bexley’s signs are unauthorised. Thankfully PATAS is not yet subservient to councillor Gareth Bacon. It makes you wonder how he justifies Mike Frizoni’s massive bonus.


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