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Bonkers Blog October 2016

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30 October (Part 2) - Bexley Council. Endemic lying keeps the cash tills ringing

There’s a sure fire way of getting more visitors to Bonkers; write something about Bexley Council’s vendetta against motorists. Better still, get someone else to write it.

On 9th October a reader described how he had been caught out by the yellow box junction at the end of Danson Lane in Welling because as he was about to move into an empty space beyond the box someone who doesn’t observe the rules of the road or common courtesy shot out of Danson Lane without pausing. Driver of Nissan Qashkai P16 MGH, that means you.

A Penalty Notice duly arrived in the post and the following relates how things went from then. It’s a long story but to edit it more severely risks missing a vital point.

SpyingYou have twice referred to my encounter with Bexley Council’s Yellow money box at the junction of Danson Lane and Welling High Street. (9th October and 15 October). The story continues.

The Penalty Charge Notice arrived and I immediately appealed it on the basis that…

1) The Penalty Charge Notice alleged that I had committed a moving traffic contravention of “Entering and stopping in a box junction when prohibited”. There is however no such offence.

The Bexley Council liars have made it up!

The only offence relating to box junctions according to the Highway Code is “Entering a box Junction when your exit is not clear”.

This is, of course, entirely different to the Bexley Council version.

I have been lied to by Bexley Council officials in the past - it would seem to be endemic. Bexley Council presumably use their distorted version of the law since as soon as a vehicle stops in a box (for whatever reason) ‘kerching’ another PCN is issued in the hope that the recipient does not know the law and just pays up

2) Bexley Council provided what they stated to be their evidence of the alleged offence. This comprised of a still photograph of my vehicle’s rear number plate and a short video clip of my vehicle in the box junction. This clip however had been heavily edited to only show what Bexley Council wanted to show but NOT the full sequence of events.

An offence is only committed if a vehicle enters a yellow box when its exit is not clear. Their video clip failed to show the situation as I entered the box and hence their ‘evidence’ did not demonstrate that I had committed any offence.

Instead of starting the video clip as I entered the box the clip only started when I was part way across by which time the clear exit space on the far side of the box that had existed as I entered the box and that I was aiming for had been taken by a car which had shot out of Danson Lane. (To the female driver of the black Nissan Qashqai registration P16 MGH who ignored the Danson Lane Give Way signs, thanks a lot! I trust that you too will get caught in this yellow box one day.)

In the circumstances I had not committed an offence and this would have been obvious to the Bexley Council officials viewing the complete tape. Such officials though, steeped in the Bexley Council culture of lying and cheating must have deliberately edited the clip to only show what they wanted to show in the hopeful expectation that it would not be challenged.

As usual with many Bexley Council issues there is one rule for them but a much more restrictive rule for others. Any appeal must be lodged within 28 days from the issue of a PCN but then Bexley Council have 56 days to accept or reject. Typical!

Eventually a letter arrived from Bexley Council accepting my appeal and cancelling the Penalty Charge Notice. No apology for the stress and aggravation caused, of course, and indeed it was altogether a most begrudging letter. It still claimed that the PCN had been correctly issued but that they had cancelled it on this occasion after looking again at the camera evidence. They warned me that they may not cancel any future PCNs in similar circumstances.

In reality they had little option but to cancel the PCN since the doctoring of the video clip was so blatantly a try on that any Traffic Adjudicator worth their salt on viewing the full video would immediately throw out the Bexley Council case.

The official justification for yellow boxes is for safety reasons and to keep junctions clear for emergency vehicles etc. Bexley Council’s box junctions are designed to be far far larger than necessary for these purposes and are in reality primarily designed to entrap motorists for revenue raising purposes, i.e. they are cash cows!

It was recently announced at a council meeting that the Danson Lane box junction, on its own, had caught 1,879 motorists over a short period. To any right minded person this statistic should have raised concerns that there must be something seriously seriously wrong with the design or traffic management at this junction.

To the Councillors present though there was only glee at the vast sums of money this junction was raising from the borough’s motorists and hence that they could continue to enjoy their generous allowances.

The lesson from this saga is that if despite being as careful as possible you still find yourself entrapped in a Bexley Council yellow money box and receive a PCN then do not meekly pay up but appeal and appeal all the way to the Traffic Adjudicators if necessary.

Councils rely on most people just paying up and do not like to have their dodgy practices exposed to scrutiny. The chances are that an appeal would be successful.

As a final thought where an appeal is successful should there not be some automatic compensation paid by Bexley Council to the motorist for the stress and aggravation caused? Say £65, the reduced PCN value. This to apply equally to parking PCNs as well as moving traffic PCNs.

This might make Bexley Council consider more carefully each case individually on its merits before issuing a PCN. At present they can just issue PCNs on the scatter gun principle and it does not really hurt them to agree a few appeals provided they can scare the vast majority of recipients into just paying up without argument. Bexley Council also at present do not care two hoots about any stress and aggravation they cause. They should be forced to be more honest and considerate.


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