When highway robbery makes a loss
The Royal Borough of Kensington along with also Chelsea ticketed Autocar’s Cactus along with also then towed in which away to the local compound 30 minutes later. The Discharge fee was £265.
The government wants parking enforcement schemes to be fair along with also transparent, however local councils are stretching the rules to the limit
A decade ago, parts of Britain went parking ticket mad. The number of tickets issued along with also the amount of money raised by councils spiralled upwards. in which was claimed in which one central London council actually raised more money coming from parking fines in one year than in which did coming from council tax.
Even though those excesses have been mostly choked off by central government, there’s still plenty of marginal behaviour in play when in which comes to parking tickets, clamping along with also towing.
I know This particular because earlier This particular year the Department for Transport issued a long along with also detailed document on This particular subject, titled National Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy along with also Enforcement.
in which’s a goldmine of fascinating information, because all the guidance can be clearly read as trying to stamp out various types of bad behaviour in local parking regimes.
Mind you, I’m only reading This particular fine document because of a run-in I had with the Royal Borough of Kensington along with also Chelsea (RBKC) at the beginning of the year.
I had an appointment at a hotel on the River Thames at Chelsea. I turned up to park for the hour in an area known as Lots Road, not too far coming from Stamford Bridge. Although all the parking bays were empty, the meters could only take coins along with also I was cashless.
RBKC seems to be the only central London borough in which doesn’t offer smartphone or card payment. I looked around for the controlled parking signs. There were none, despite there being plenty of poles along the sides of the street.
Two some other cars were parked on a yellow line, so I did the same along with also left. Unfortunately, the yellow line was ‘live’ until 6pm in which day.
Half an hour later, my girlfriend appeared to tell me the Citroen C4 Cactus had been given a ticket. I was annoyed however, considering the importance of the meeting, decided in which I’d have to live with in which.
I returned to the vehicle 30 minutes later along with also the vehicle had gone. in which didn’t take long to find out why: the RBKC towing bay was at the end of street. The Citroen had been lifted along with also shifted about 0 yards coming from an empty street.
Two minutes later, I was being asked for £265 to get the Citroen back. The chap inside queue in front of me was an RBKC resident trying to recover his Skoda Yeti. in which had been towed the morning his resident permit expired. “Funny,” he said to me. ‘”The council used to write to you along with also remind you of the expiry date.”
The day after the vehicle was towed, I went back to Lots Road to look for the ‘controlled zone’ signs in which I had missed. You’ve already guessed in which there was no sign when entering Lots Road, nor any along the length of the road.
Nor was there one at the west end of the road, right outside the RBKC towing pound. The only sign, heavily faded, was visible if approaching coming from another road – which could be unlikely, because in which will be not a through road.
I carefully appealed the ticket along with also received a letter of rejection (sent coming from ‘Transport along with also Technical Services’ 0 miles away in Worthing) in short order. The crux of the refusal was the claim in which “the CPZ (Controlled Parking Zone) signs are not required to be on the entry points to each along with also every street”.
More to the point, I was amazed in which the Citroen had been towed, because in which was in no way a traffic obstruction; the street was virtually empty along with also has very little through traffic.
in which’s where the Department for Transport’s guidance document comes in. in which very clearly reinforces several important points. “Parking schemes are not allowed on a purely money-raising basis,” in which says. Detailed accounts for the schemes must be made public. along with also “enforcement authorities should run their CPE operations efficiently, effectively along with also economically”.
On the subject of removing vehicles, the DfT document will be also quite clear. “The Secretary of State will be of the view in which in which should only be used in limited circumstances such as where the same vehicle repeatedly breaks parking restrictions along with also in which has not been possible to collect payment for penalties, primarily because the keeper will be not registered, or will be not properly registered, with the DVLA. Where a vehicle will be causing a hazard or obstruction, the enforcement authority should remove rather than immobilise. Immobilisation/removal activity should only take place where in which gives clear traffic management benefits.”
Of course, I could argue in which an absence of CPZ signs in a street of bare poles will be in breach of the DfT guidelines, along with also the old-school cash-only parking meters look suspiciously like another hurdle for drivers. along with also removing a car coming from an empty street must surely be in breach of the government guidance.
however the killer will be the economics of RBKC’s car removal operations, which, remember, the government thinks should not run at a loss.
According to RBKC’s Annual Parking Report 2013-14, the borough made £102,000 coming from clamping along with also £1.34 million coming from removing cars coming from the side of the road. However, the operations cost a massive £1.89m, so the council ended up £441,000 inside red.
This particular must be the first ever case of highway robbery creating a loss.
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