Dear Mr Mustard
It turns out that I parked in the Saracens event day zone on Sunday 15, September 13. I didn't recall seeing any signs about it being an event day as I drove to my friends' and I don't have a computer.
The signs on their own did not help me.
I challenged the PCN twice and Barnet Council turned me down both times so I appealed to the independ adjudicator at PATAS. My grounds were that it wasn't clearly communicated to me that it was an event day. The hearing was scheduled for 20 minutes but we didn't need them as the Adjudicator said the council were in disarray with their case.
The council have carried on issuing parking tickets by the hundred and I think they are unlawful. What can be done about it?
Thank you for your letter. You are right that getting a penalty charge notice inside the Saracens Zone is a surprise to many people as they don't see the signs on the way into the zone and they might be a mile away from the rugby ground at Copthall. It would be helpful if there was a sign in every road that listed all the event days for the season so that motorists, like yourself, can check easily and don't make an innocent error and then end up with a PCN for £110.
The council came out with its usual statement that you should check the internet before you leave home, but that is both impossible for you as you do not have a computer and it is the duty of the council to put up clear signs in every road as to what restrictions apply.
In your case the sign is clear once you know whether or not it is an event day. If it is an event day (and they are all at the weekend) you know which of the two signs applies and can park accordingly.
I agree with you that there is a flaw in the scheme, although that only became crystal clear towards the end of May when the season was nearly over. It is to be hoped that the council advertises the event days better in the next season but a cynic would say it doesn't want to as the council gives every appearance of being addicted to the revenue from PCNs.
What it could do is put adverts in the local papers, posters in libraries, have a page in Barnet First, use social media and dot matrix signs on the major approaches and post the dates for the year through every letterbox inside the zone (as local residents often get caught out).
The good news is that a Saracens PCN is eminently beatable. This is what you have to do when you make your three challenges (two to the council and one to PATAS). Put the council to proof that:
1. It was an event day, and how that is decided / defined
2. That all the CPZ entry zone signs had been updated to show the event day date, when that was done and to provide photographic evidence that the signs were showing the correct date on the day itself.
3. That the sign where you parked is an authorised one.
4. Also add in any other points that you have thought of.
For the 9,000 or so properties inside the zone this is a reminder that you (and any business or charity operating inside the zone) are entitled to a free event day permit and up to 88 visitor vouchers a year. Saracens Rugby Club will pay the bill, so why not have one so you don't get caught out and face a £110 bill.