Thursday, April 09, 2009

PC N not PCN

A few weeks ago I was served with a PCN (Penalty Charge Notice) for allegedly making a Right Turn into a section of the High Street where there was a No Right Turn.

My husband was driving and he promptly paid off the fine of £60 (reduced from £120 if paid withing 14 days or something like that) to avoid having to pay a higher penalty of £180.

We were furious but did not have the time to appeal this charge. Until we learned that another family at church made the same mistake and was fined £50 (reduced from £100).

I searched online for all kinds of related information and finally sent a letter, recorded delivery, to protest the following:

  1. That 46 days had elapsed since the alleged offence. According to my research these notices ought to be sent within a 28-day period, after which it is unenforceable.
  2. Returning to the scene of the alleged contravention, I saw that there are large arrows indicating traffic to go straight on in the left lane and a right turning arrow for a right turn into the High Street. Only when you are well into this lane would a driver be able to see the tiny signpost below the traffic light itself that indicates a ‘No Right Turn’. According to my research, “signs indicating prohibited signs at traffic lights should be next to the green light at the traffic lights and on both sides of the road”.
  3. I also checked out the scene on foot and found that there was a sign prohibiting a right turn, BUT this was placed on the kerb right in the middle of, not one but, TWO loading bays. When trying to circumnavigate parked high-sided vehicles it is easy to miss this sign.
  4. There is no signage, as far as I could see, that traffic enforcement cameras were being used in this area, which I understand is a statutory requirement.
  5. If my friend had to pay a penalty charge of £100.00, reduced to £50.00 if paid within 14 days, then my charge of £120 would have “exceeded the amount applicable in the circumstances of the case”, and a legitimate ground for appeal.
  6. My Penalty Charge Notice does not provide me with a contravention code, which invalidates it.
  7. My Penalty Charge Notice states that it is for “failing to comply with a sign indicating a prohibited turn – no right turn” but this is also confused with a sign that prohibits certain types of vehicle. It should be one or the other.
  8. My Penalty Charge Notice does not indicate the make of my car.
  9. My Penalty Charge Notice does not inform me at all of my right to view CCTV footage, and/or how to go about doing this.
  10. My Penalty Charge Notice does not indicate that I could present “compelling reasons” (but only mentioned “mitigating circumstances”) as to why the charge could be challenged.

So I was ready to do battle with the Council.

Late last week I received a letter from the Council stating that because the PCN was sent more than 28 days after the alleged infringement it should be cancelled.

Happy? Moi?

Yes, because I can now give the £60 to a more worthy cause. But not happy because it has not answered my other questions, not least of all, how could they announce in the media that the High Street is now open to car traffic in both directions when in fact it is not possible to drive into the High Street legally from one direction?

How could a street be both 'open' and effectively closed at the same time?

We keep seeing motorists trying to get into the High Street, as several of our friends in church have, simply because of all the publicity that the High Street is OPEN.

But it's not!

How much money has the Council made through these PCNs? I think it is entrapment, myself.

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1 comment:

Laura Brown said...

Harrow Council must be getting desperate for revenue. At our church's Good Friday service they came around and gave a number of parishoners parking tickets! Our priest is planning to collect all the tickets and ask for them to be rescinded.