Barnet Borough Council has been accused of knowing it would lose a legal challenge over its controversial parking charges.

David Attfield, 46, who lives in East Finchley, won the High Court challenge over the cost of the council’s controlled parking zones (CPZ).

He began the proceedings after the council raised the cost of a household's parking permit from £40 a year to £100.

Mr Attfield argued the authority had misused its powers under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, by setting charges to raise money to spend on other traffic schemes unrelated to parking.

Now Mr Attfield is questioning why the council fought the action despite assessing its risk of defeat in court as “likely” in an environment, planning and regeneration performance overview.

He said: “About the only thing the council has got right throughout this sorry saga is that it would lose. The council may have thought that it was being clever when it carried on levying these charges but it thought all along that the charges would probably be declared unlawful.

“Did it suspend the introduction of the increases as I suggested at the outset of the case? No, it just carried on raking in money even though it realised it probably had no entitlement to it. 

“The council has also squandered more than £100,000 of public money fighting my claim, knowing that it was likely throwing money away as it expected to lose. Not to mention the enormous stress, inconvenience and financial risk that the council has exposed me and my family to over the past two years.

“I have a simple question for Richard Cornelius, the leader of Barnet Council: what is the justification for fighting a claim you think you will lose? And will he now abandon any idea of trying to appeal against the court's clear ruling.”

The council has defended claims it expected to lose the case. A council spokesman said: “It would be wrong to say we were always expecting to lose.

“The campaign is quoting a risk register which all councils have and which we are unusual in publishing as part of our performance data.

“This was regularly reviewed while the case was live, with the rating varying at different points in the case. When the judicial review was refused on two occasions it was rated down. When it was accepted, the rating rose.

“From a review of the published risk registers over this period, the risk seems largely to be have downgraded to ‘possible’, rather than likely, as leave to seek a judicial review was refused twice.

“The council regularly publishes risk registers which prudently take a pessimistic view of risks. These are not necessarily a straightforward prediction of events but rather allow us to plan for a range of eventualities.”