Anger Over Hounslow's Parking Appeal Process

Residents fined while helping the vulnerable or volunteering told they have to pay

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Hounslow Council’s continuation of parking enforcement has upset some local residents who say they were fined while using their car to support vulnerable residents or while volunteering.

Some of the people who received fines were hopeful that an appeal against it would be treated sympathetically when the circumstances were explained but, in all the cases we have been told about, the appeal was rejected out of hand by the council.

A local expert on parking fine appeals told us that it was unlikely that anyone who received a fine will have better luck with the independent adjudicator. He said, “Unless the person can find another reason the PCN is invalid they will have to pay. The adjudicator cannot make a ruling on moral grounds although he or she is likely to be sympathetic.”

The Council caused some anger when it announced that it would be continuing enforcement after the lockdown, justifying the decision on the grounds that it was in line with government advice. Some local retailers were cross that there was a ‘business as usual’ policy for parking restrictions while they were forced to close. New types of temporary resident's permits have been introduced for carers to purchase costing £27 for 4 months. The same rules apply for this permit as would for a normal residents permit, you have to be a resident in the borough and live in a CPZ. The number of visitor permits residents can purchase has been increased to 25 booklets.

Christian Harper was caught out recently, “I wasn’t aware that traffic enforcement was still taking place in Chiswick. I parked on Dukes Avenue yesterday to pay some cheques in for an elderly couple and received a £110 parking ticket. I appealed the ticket making it very clear what I was doing at the time and my surprise that parking enforcement was still in operation. I received a generic response today that they are not cancelling the ticket and I need to pay in full. I have no intention to do so and would like to use my case to bring the subject into the public forum.”

Christian says that, as the purpose of parking enforcement is supposed to be the free movement of traffic and ensuring availability of space for local residents, the council shouldn’t be operating in a way that only serves to increase their revenue. As there is limited traffic on the road and ample space in most CPZs then he believes that there is no justification for tickets being given out. He also says the employment of attendants to issue tickets increases the risk of spreading infection and causes unnecessary journeys.

Another resident contacted us to say, “I did know that there was still a risk of getting a ticket but I thought if I wasn’t parked anywhere that might be seen as causing an obstruction it would be okay. The lady I had done a shop for is finding isolation hard and loves to chat across the fence so I didn’t have the heart to rush off to move the car. I paid the ticket but it does prove that no good deed goes unpunished.”

Cllr Jo Biddolph, who represents Turnham Green ward and is the leader of the Conservatives on Hounslow Council said, “The parking problem is real; several of my councillor colleagues have expressed concern about it and we have discussed it in detail. The difficulty is that the council must keep the roads clear for recycling/waste and emergency vehicles and ensure there are no obstructions. It is difficult to adopt selective enforcement of the rules without accusations of favouritism. Anyone who thinks they have been unfairly treated should always use the appeals system. There are special schemes for NHS workers and councillors are taking up cases concerning their problems with the council. All of us, your local councillors, are available to help if you feel you have been unjustly treated."

We contacted Hounslow Council and asked if they would consider rescinding PCNs given to residents who could show that they were volunteering or assisting in some other way vulnerable people during the pandemic. We have not received a response.


May 1, 2020

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