Author Topic: Malton - Minster Baywatch - permit parking - inadequate/misleading signage?  (Read 273 times)

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EdG

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I received the below PCN from Minster Baywatch:

https://ibb.co/C5hf2cj

Date of alleged contravention was 03/02 and date of issue was 09/02

I've taken pictures of the car park & signs to show the signs in relation to where the car was:

https://ibb.co/fDwtC9Q
https://ibb.co/pPNM482
https://ibb.co/DQL1Fbp
https://ibb.co/qjvvhbf

I feel like it wasn't clear which space(s) the permit parking sign or free parking sign referred to. Also there was no sign at the entrance to the car park indicating  that I was entering an area with permit parking.

I think my "discount" period ends tomorrow - is it worth fighting this one or should I cough up?

Thanks in advance for any and all help

(Apologies for the links; I'm trying to embed the images but it doesn't seem to be working)
« Last Edit: February 21, 2024, 06:49:44 pm by EdG »

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DWMB2

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The layout doesn't look particularly clear. Minster Baywatch won't accept any appeal (no benefit to them in accepting appeals), but there seems to be a fairly strong case that the signage is not clear.

Additionally - there's an argument that even if the signage had been clear, no contract was formed, as the signage is forbidding.

b789

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Looking at the NtK... are there any timestamps on the photographic evidence?



If not, this is a breach of the BPA CoP 21.5 and POPLA recently found in favour of the appellant because the images had been "altered" (cropped to fit) and failed to show a timestamp.

b789

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POPLA appeal 2413353469

This was an appeal against Euro Car Parks alleging an overstay of 13 minutes. The NTK was, supposedly, PoFA compliant.

Quote
Decision: Successful
Assessor Name: Gayle Stanton

Assessor summary of operator case

The operator has issued the PCN because the vehicle was parked on the site and the pay and display permit did not cover the date and time of parking.

Assessor summary of your case

The appellant has raised the following grounds of appeal:

• The signage is inadequate
• The Notice to Keeper (NTK) does not meet PoFA requirements.
• The NTK does not accurately describe the circumstances so there is no keeper liability.
• The operator has not shown that the individual it is chasing is the driver.
• No landowner authority
• Grace period- Non compliance with the British Parking Association (BPA).
• No evidence of the period parked.
Images of the vehicle contained within the NTK are not compliant with the BPA.
• The ANPR system is not reliable or accurate.

The appellant has provided a document detailing their appeal and they have commented on the operator’s case file.

Assessor supporting rational for decision

In terms of POPLA appeals, the burden of proof rests with the operator to provide clear evidence of the contravention it alleges occurred, and consequently, that it issued the PCN correctly. I am allowing this appeal, with my reasoning outlined below:

The Images of the vehicle contained within the NTK are not compliant with the BPA. The appellant has stated in the comments that although the operator has provided full date stamped photographs in the case file, the images on the NTK are not compliant.

I acknowledge the appellant’s grounds of appeal and I have reviewed the evidence provided by the operator. The British Parking Association (BPA) Code of Practice Section 21.5a states: "When issuing a parking charge notice you may use photographs as evidence that a vehicle was parked in an unauthorised way. The photographs must refer to and confirm the incident which you claim was unauthorised. A date and time stamp should be included on the photograph. All photographs used for evidence should be clear and legible and must not be retouched or digitally altered."

I have reviewed the copy of the NTK provided by the operator and I am not satisfied that the images of the vehicle number plate on the NTK are compliant with Section 21.5a of the BPA Code of Practice. These images are not date stamped and after seeing the full images in the case file they appear to have been digitally altered or cropped to fit on the NTK. This is especially apparent on the colour image on the NTK.

The image recorded of the vehicle entering the site is also not very clear. I note that the appellant has raised further grounds for appeal in this case. However, as I have allowed the appeal for this reason, I have not considered them. As such, I conclude that the PCN has been issued incorrectly. Accordingly, I must allow this appeal.

H C Andersen

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Be careful. The version of the Code which applied when this decision was made (version 8) is no longer in effect. It has been superseded by version 9 in which 21.5a is materially different:

https://www.britishparking.co.uk/write/Documents/AOS/NEW%20Redesigned%20Documents/Version91.2.2024Highlight.pdf

It seems as if the wording of v8 was too broad for BPA members. V9 now applies the same limits but ONLY where the photos are the 'basis for issuing a parking charge', which probably doesn't apply in your case because the photos were taken by hand  i.e. a 'warden patrols, to use their jargon.

You've got the point about the layout of the site, but this is not totally clear from your posts. The Minster Baywatch sign you've posted is not an 'Entrance Sign' as prescribed under the Code, it's a detailed Ts and Cs sign.

Where is the entrance sign?

Also, given that the photos were taken by a warden, you should put it to Minster that a Notice to Driver should have been issued and that there is no contractual or Code basis for avoiding this step and requesting DVLA data and issuing a parking charge notice by post. Also, although you looked when you parked, you could not locate any machine at which you could 'make the required payment' as specified under 'the terms of the Parking Contract' - see lines 1 and 2 of paragraph 1 of the small print of the sign - see enclosed photo of the on-site sign. On which point, the sign is confusing because on the one hand it states in large font 'Permit Parking Only' while also offering drivers the option to 'make the required payment'.

Some thoughts.

b789

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This was the appeal wording regarding the photos used at the time based on v8 of the BPA CoP:

Quote
8. Vehicle images contained in NTK: BPA Code of Practice – non-compliance

The only evidence provided for the alleged contravention, which appears to hinge on a matter of minutes, is based on images from an ANPR camera. The images provided in the NTK are not compliant with the BPA code of practice.

The BPA Code of Practice point 21.5a stipulates that: "When issuing a parking charge notice you may use photographs as evidence that a vehicle was parked in an unauthorised way. The photographs must refer
to and confirm the incident which you claim was unauthorised. A date and time stamp should be included
on the photograph. All photographs used for evidence should be clear and legible and must not be retouched or digitally altered."

The NTK in question contains two close-up images of the vehicle number plate. Neither of these images contains a date and time stamp “on the photograph” and they do not show what the vehicle was doing (they don’t show the vehicle at all!). It is plain that they do not clearly show the vehicle entering or leaving this car park, and they could come from any location.

A date and time is given on the NTK above (but not part of) the images. The images have presumably been cropped (i.e., digitally altered, which is expressly forbidden in the BPA Code of Practice above). As such they are not the original images. I require Euro Car Parks to produce evidence of the original "un-cropped" images containing the required date and time stamp and to evidence where the photographs show the car to be when there is a lack of any marker or sign to indisputably relate these photos to the location stated

However, I believe that v9 of the CoP, section 21.5(e) and (f) still applies as the images on the NtK have been digitally altered by cropping and, irrespective of the file photos, do not display a valid timestamp.

I don't agree that the fact that a 'warden' took the photographs rather than they are images captured by ANPR is applicable. Unless a NtD was affixed to the car, the basis for issuing a parking charge can only be the evidential photos.

I still believe that the argument should be raised in any POPLA appeal and reference to the other POPLA appeal noted.

DWMB2

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I worry we're putting the cart before the horse here, with extensive discussion around the finer points of the Code of Practice. I'm not saying they aren't relevant, but I'd suggest any initial appeal should put the issue of the poor signage and unclear site boundaries front and centre.

b789

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FYI this OP has gone over to MSE and is taking advice from there.

EdG

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Hi all, apologies for not replying until now I thought I had switched on notifications to this thread but clearly I hadn't.

Thanks to everyone for the comments and advice.

MB did reject the initial appeal, I can't understand why - it's almost like they're financially incentivised to reject appeals or something.

I've now made a POPLA appeal as well - the main focus was the absence of entrance signage, and the conflicting signs (permit/free parking) in the area with no clear demarcation between the two. Also of note was that in their full size evidence photo (sent with their appeal rejection) you can clearly see that the vehicle parked next to mine would directly block the driver's view of their sign.

As b789 noted I did also post on MSE but I will update here as well with the POPLA reply. Thanks again to all

DWMB2

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Quote
MB did reject the initial appeal, I can't understand why - it's almost like they're financially incentivised to reject appeals or something.
Who'd have thunk it?  ;) They do have to pay a small fee if it goes to POPLA but not enough to discourage them too much.

Do let us know how you get on - if you're able to link to your MSE thread that could be useful reading for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation in future.

EdG

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Quote
MB did reject the initial appeal, I can't understand why - it's almost like they're financially incentivised to reject appeals or something.
Who'd have thunk it?  ;) They do have to pay a small fee if it goes to POPLA but not enough to discourage them too much.

Do let us know how you get on - if you're able to link to your MSE thread that could be useful reading for anyone who finds themselves in a similar situation in future.



I've just had a reply from POPLA with the evidence bundle:


https://drive.google.com/file/d/1McjWmaXAu73Y6IzPhYpHkLJajMFW-EvY/view?usp=sharing

My initial reactions to it are:

  • Their photos show even better than mine that the car next to mine was blocking their one sign from the driver's view! (Also as below, how can they prove there wasn't an even bigger vehicle there when the driver first parked?)
  • I also wondered how could they prove that a big van wasn't parked right up to and covering that sign as the driver entered the car park?
  • The parking areas they've drawn at the end are completely arbitrary; there's no indication on site that the zones are demarcated in that way
  • They claim an entrance sign would be impractical, that seems a complete fabrication as there's a big blank wall at the entrance to which a sign could be attached?! Also the site clearly does permit general parking because without clear demarcation between the two 'sites' (as they've drawn it) then one has to assume there is only one site.


Obviously have posted this on MSE thread too, but would value greatly opinions from the kind people on this forum no less than on there!


Also here's the link to the MSE thread as asked: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/6507676/malton-minster-baywatch-permit-parking-inadequate-misleading-signage


EdG

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Just a quick follow up to say the appeal was successful based on the grounds of inadequate signage. Minster Baywatch also emailed with the happy news. I replied to their email thusly:

"hahahahahahahahahahaha"

DWMB2

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Thanks for the update, a good result. Out of interest are you able to share the assessor's wording?

POPLA have (anecdotally) often been fairly reluctant to rule on poor signage, but in your case the set up at that car park was particularly rubbish!