Man wins parking appeal over 'inadequate' council sign in Wimbledon

Wimbledon Guardian: Man wins parking appeal against Merton Council Man wins parking appeal against Merton Council

A financial advisor has won his appeal against Merton Council after the council was found to have provided inadequate road signs.

Alan Tollworthy, 66, received a parking ticket from a mobile CCTV van on October 8 after making an illegal right turn into Kingston Road from Russell Road in Wimbledon.

He claimed the road was insufficiently marked and appealed to Merton Council over the £130 fine.

He said: "There is only one sign on the junction, there should be two.

"I drove down Russell Road and there was scaffolding which obstructed the no right turn sign, but there is no sign on the right hand side."

His appeal was rejected but rather than give up and pay the fine, he took his case to the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PATAS) who upheld his complaint and cancelled his ticket.

In her report Jane Anderson, PATAS appeal adjudicator, said signage was "not clear and adequate" and that Merton Council had "inappropriately issued a charge certificate". 

She also noted Merton Council had failed to enclose an appeal form with their notice of rejection.

Mr Tollworthy is urging anyone ticketed at this junction to use his case as a reference to appeal. 

He said: "Merton Council needs to first of all put their signs in order.

"The council should refund every single ticket that they have issued on the junction."

A total of 932 penalty charge notices have been issued at this location in the last six months.

Merton Council have said they will not be issuing refunds as Mr Tolworthy's case amounted to "procedural impropriety" and other appeals to PATAS at the same junction had been found in their favour.

Councillor Mark Betteridge, cabinet member for performance and implementation, said: "The ‘no right turn’ sign is perfectly visible to drivers, and PATAS upheld our decision to issue a PCN to a driver who committed the same offence two hours earlier that day. 

"We continue to work hard to make sure we are fair in our enforcement at all times to make our roads safe and minimise congestion."

Comments (11)

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2:19pm Wed 30 Jan 13

tjames says...

why doesnt council cut its own costs?
why doesnt council cut its own costs? tjames

3:22pm Wed 30 Jan 13

robmorleyuk says...

Merton councils policy on mobile CCTV vehicles states “moving traffic and ‘no stopping’ contraventions where enforcement is only possible by waiting on yellow lines.”
This suggests there was a CCTV vehicle parked waiting for an incident. That also suggests the junction had been identified as likely to generate incidents.
Maybe the CCTV operator and the council could have identified the signage problem and simply addressed that instead of carrying out a Sting operation.

I would rather they invested time with their CCTV vehicles on the No Right Turn in to Morden Road from Kingston Road and ease the local congestion.
Plenty of legitimate fines to be reaped there.
Merton councils policy on mobile CCTV vehicles states “moving traffic and ‘no stopping’ contraventions where enforcement is only possible by waiting on yellow lines.” This suggests there was a CCTV vehicle parked waiting for an incident. That also suggests the junction had been identified as likely to generate incidents. Maybe the CCTV operator and the council could have identified the signage problem and simply addressed that instead of carrying out a Sting operation. I would rather they invested time with their CCTV vehicles on the No Right Turn in to Morden Road from Kingston Road and ease the local congestion. Plenty of legitimate fines to be reaped there. robmorleyuk

7:54am Thu 31 Jan 13

Mordenman says...

CCTV, Junction boxes - it is all the same to Merton Council. Another form of revenue generation by extortion. They are no different from the highwaymen of Dick Turpin's time
CCTV, Junction boxes - it is all the same to Merton Council. Another form of revenue generation by extortion. They are no different from the highwaymen of Dick Turpin's time Mordenman

11:15am Thu 31 Jan 13

Tobermory says...

robmorleyuk wrote:
Merton councils policy on mobile CCTV vehicles states “moving traffic and ‘no stopping’ contraventions where enforcement is only possible by waiting on yellow lines.”
This suggests there was a CCTV vehicle parked waiting for an incident. That also suggests the junction had been identified as likely to generate incidents.
Maybe the CCTV operator and the council could have identified the signage problem and simply addressed that instead of carrying out a Sting operation.

I would rather they invested time with their CCTV vehicles on the No Right Turn in to Morden Road from Kingston Road and ease the local congestion.
Plenty of legitimate fines to be reaped there.
What a stupid comment, you don't like the car filming people breaking the law in Russell road but would be happy for it to do it in Kingston Road, what logic is there in that??
[quote][p][bold]robmorleyuk[/bold] wrote: Merton councils policy on mobile CCTV vehicles states “moving traffic and ‘no stopping’ contraventions where enforcement is only possible by waiting on yellow lines.” This suggests there was a CCTV vehicle parked waiting for an incident. That also suggests the junction had been identified as likely to generate incidents. Maybe the CCTV operator and the council could have identified the signage problem and simply addressed that instead of carrying out a Sting operation. I would rather they invested time with their CCTV vehicles on the No Right Turn in to Morden Road from Kingston Road and ease the local congestion. Plenty of legitimate fines to be reaped there.[/p][/quote]What a stupid comment, you don't like the car filming people breaking the law in Russell road but would be happy for it to do it in Kingston Road, what logic is there in that?? Tobermory

11:27am Thu 31 Jan 13

Tobermory says...

The junction is actually correctly signed as required by the dept of Transport, only one sign is required. Showing photos of Gladstone road is totally pointless as it is a different layout due to vehicles being able to use both sides of the road to exit into Kingston road as the junction is no entry from Kingston road and therefore needs two signs. I'm sure if the Council who do not attend hearings wanted to waste Council money on a review of the case they would win. Mr Tollworthy has clearly been lucky on this occasion as the photo above shows just how clear the sign is, maybe he should have gone to Specsavers rather than the Guardian??
The junction is actually correctly signed as required by the dept of Transport, only one sign is required. Showing photos of Gladstone road is totally pointless as it is a different layout due to vehicles being able to use both sides of the road to exit into Kingston road as the junction is no entry from Kingston road and therefore needs two signs. I'm sure if the Council who do not attend hearings wanted to waste Council money on a review of the case they would win. Mr Tollworthy has clearly been lucky on this occasion as the photo above shows just how clear the sign is, maybe he should have gone to Specsavers rather than the Guardian?? Tobermory

2:42pm Thu 31 Jan 13

robmorleyuk says...

Tobe
Your comments are always worth reading.
The Guardian photo is of the end of Russell road as described in the article, if you have time check it by foot or by Google maps. http://tinyurl.com/a
zsszv6
The PATAS ruling was based on the signage being inadequate as it was obstructed from view, something the CCTV operator might have been able to judge better but we have no informaion on that or access to the recording they are required to make of the available signage after the event.
Without additional info the look on Mr Tollworthys face suggests the picture was taken after the ruling in his favour, he looks quite happy and the scaffolding mentioned is long since gone. Your reference to DOT regulations on signage is of interest but I haven’t yet found the same guidance, perhaps you could provide the URL to back that up, but the remaining signage shows that the council are effective in providing symmetric signage for everything else.

As for favouring monitoring of one junction over the other I stand and sit by my observation that one causes congestion every day and the other appears in this case to be opportunism with little congestion caused.

There is no mention of whether Mr Tollworthy uses glasses for driving or reading, your personal attack seems inappropriate at best.
Tobe Your comments are always worth reading. The Guardian photo is of the end of Russell road as described in the article, if you have time check it by foot or by Google maps. http://tinyurl.com/a zsszv6 The PATAS ruling was based on the signage being inadequate as it was obstructed from view, something the CCTV operator might have been able to judge better but we have no informaion on that or access to the recording they are required to make of the available signage after the event. Without additional info the look on Mr Tollworthys face suggests the picture was taken after the ruling in his favour, he looks quite happy and the scaffolding mentioned is long since gone. Your reference to DOT regulations on signage is of interest but I haven’t yet found the same guidance, perhaps you could provide the URL to back that up, but the remaining signage shows that the council are effective in providing symmetric signage for everything else. As for favouring monitoring of one junction over the other I stand and sit by my observation that one [Kingston Road] causes congestion every day and the other [Russell Road] appears in this case to be opportunism with little congestion caused. There is no mention of whether Mr Tollworthy uses glasses for driving or reading, your personal attack seems inappropriate at best. robmorleyuk

3:11pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Tobermory says...

Whilst I agree the scaffolding may have contributed to the obscured sign resulting in the driver being given the benefit of doubt. Mr Tollworthy claims that their 'must' be two signs which is clearly just something he has made up. I doubt very much the scaffolding was there for all the 932 PCNs issued and the large number issued obviously shows the sign is being ignored hence the monitoring by CCTV.
As the council correctly points out an adjudicator at an earlier hearing for an offence at 2 hrs before Mr Tollworthy stated:
It is claimed that the Appellant's car had performed a prohibited turn (No right turn for vehicular traffic). I have carefully considered the Enforcement Authority's evidence, including their CCTV footage and extract from local Traffic Management Order, and observed that the Appellant's vehicle made a right from a side road. It was clear that the no right turn sign was correctly in place and easily visible.

The Appellant claims that there was scaffolding in place which obscured the sign but I am satisfied from the evidence before me that, on a balance of probabilities, this would have been visible to the driver and thus enforceable.

I am satisfied that the Appellant had driven contrary to the prohibition in force. An Adjudicator is only able to decide an appeal by making findings of fact on the basis of the evidence produced by the parties and applying the relevant law, and has no power to consider mitigating circumstances of any description. Considering carefully all the evidence before me, I must find as a fact that, on this particular occasion, a contravention did occur and thus the Penalty Charge Notice was properly issued. The appeal is refused.
Whilst I agree the scaffolding may have contributed to the obscured sign resulting in the driver being given the benefit of doubt. Mr Tollworthy claims that their 'must' be two signs which is clearly just something he has made up. I doubt very much the scaffolding was there for all the 932 PCNs issued and the large number issued obviously shows the sign is being ignored hence the monitoring by CCTV. As the council correctly points out an adjudicator at an earlier hearing for an offence at 2 hrs before Mr Tollworthy stated: It is claimed that the Appellant's car had performed a prohibited turn (No right turn for vehicular traffic). I have carefully considered the Enforcement Authority's evidence, including their CCTV footage and extract from local Traffic Management Order, and observed that the Appellant's vehicle made a right from a side road. It was clear that the no right turn sign was correctly in place and easily visible. The Appellant claims that there was scaffolding in place which obscured the sign but I am satisfied from the evidence before me that, on a balance of probabilities, this would have been visible to the driver and thus enforceable. I am satisfied that the Appellant had driven contrary to the prohibition in force. An Adjudicator is only able to decide an appeal by making findings of fact on the basis of the evidence produced by the parties and applying the relevant law, and has no power to consider mitigating circumstances of any description. Considering carefully all the evidence before me, I must find as a fact that, on this particular occasion, a contravention did occur and thus the Penalty Charge Notice was properly issued. The appeal is refused. Tobermory

3:26pm Thu 31 Jan 13

robmorleyuk says...

Thanks Tobe,
So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy.
I think I understand you better now.
Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts.
Thanks Tobe, So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy. I think I understand you better now. Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts. robmorleyuk

6:28pm Thu 31 Jan 13

shelokay2 says...

what i would find interesting is where this guy lives.. does he use this route often? if he does there is no excuse to not know its a right turn..

he was very lucky cos seems a very lame reason to not be reading the road correctly!
what i would find interesting is where this guy lives.. does he use this route often? if he does there is no excuse to not know its a right turn.. he was very lucky cos seems a very lame reason to not be reading the road correctly! shelokay2

7:05pm Thu 31 Jan 13

Tobermory says...

robmorleyuk wrote:
Thanks Tobe,
So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy.
I think I understand you better now.
Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts.
I have not wrongly identified the junction it is Russel road, the reference to Gladstone road was because the drivers defence was another street had two signs (for the reasons I explained). It was not a personal attack it was an observation that anyone unable to see that sign needed glasses, an observation I stand by as would any driving test examiner.
As a driving instructor I know the law if you do not that is not my problem. The information is clearly available on the internet. If you are so sure I'm wrong maybe you could indicate where the law states two signs must be used?
[quote][p][bold]robmorleyuk[/bold] wrote: Thanks Tobe, So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy. I think I understand you better now. Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts.[/p][/quote]I have not wrongly identified the junction it is Russel road, the reference to Gladstone road was because the drivers defence was another street had two signs (for the reasons I explained). It was not a personal attack it was an observation that anyone unable to see that sign needed glasses, an observation I stand by as would any driving test examiner. As a driving instructor I know the law if you do not that is not my problem. The information is clearly available on the internet. If you are so sure I'm wrong maybe you could indicate where the law states two signs must be used? Tobermory

7:35pm Thu 31 Jan 13

robmorleyuk says...

Tobermory wrote:
robmorleyuk wrote:
Thanks Tobe,
So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy.
I think I understand you better now.
Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts.
I have not wrongly identified the junction it is Russel road, the reference to Gladstone road was because the drivers defence was another street had two signs (for the reasons I explained). It was not a personal attack it was an observation that anyone unable to see that sign needed glasses, an observation I stand by as would any driving test examiner.
As a driving instructor I know the law if you do not that is not my problem. The information is clearly available on the internet. If you are so sure I'm wrong maybe you could indicate where the law states two signs must be used?
Tobes,
Very interesting updates from you.
The article makes no mention of Gladstone Road until your comment appears and the photo in the article is Russell Road.
The quoted passage you provide does not make reference to either additional photos or Gladstone Road.
The comment about glasses is clearly personal and in print and pushing the boundary of libel.
An inability to see a sign obstructed by scaffolding would not be mitigated by glasses unless they were x-ray glasses which I believe are frowned upon for use while driving.
The PATAS ruling was on the signage being “not clear and adequate” adequate is a comparative term and compared to the remaining signage the No Right Turn was less than adequate, particularly when obscured by scaffolding.
I haven’t said that two signs must be present but have noted that they appear for every other instruction posted on that junction.
And you may be a driving instructor but you make early reference to DOT requirements but will not provide support for it. You say it is clearly available on the Internet but have again refused to provide the URL. Its a shame because you very often provide good sense on this site but today are almost deliberately underperforming.
[quote][p][bold]Tobermory[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]robmorleyuk[/bold] wrote: Thanks Tobe, So you accept you misidentified the junction, are quoting from an earlier hearing and have no URL for the assertion on signage regulations but can quickly access the detail of the earlier ruling itself while not yet considering a retraction on your personal attack on Mr Tollworthy. I think I understand you better now. Keep on scribing, as I stated earlier, always worth reading your posts.[/p][/quote]I have not wrongly identified the junction it is Russel road, the reference to Gladstone road was because the drivers defence was another street had two signs (for the reasons I explained). It was not a personal attack it was an observation that anyone unable to see that sign needed glasses, an observation I stand by as would any driving test examiner. As a driving instructor I know the law if you do not that is not my problem. The information is clearly available on the internet. If you are so sure I'm wrong maybe you could indicate where the law states two signs must be used?[/p][/quote]Tobes, Very interesting updates from you. The article makes no mention of Gladstone Road until your comment appears and the photo in the article is Russell Road. The quoted passage you provide does not make reference to either additional photos or Gladstone Road. The comment about glasses is clearly personal and in print and pushing the boundary of libel. An inability to see a sign obstructed by scaffolding would not be mitigated by glasses unless they were x-ray glasses which I believe are frowned upon for use while driving. The PATAS ruling was on the signage being “not clear and adequate” adequate is a comparative term and compared to the remaining signage the No Right Turn was less than adequate, particularly when obscured by scaffolding. I haven’t said that two signs must be present but have noted that they appear for every other instruction posted on that junction. And you may be a driving instructor [or not] but you make early reference to DOT requirements but will not provide support for it. You say it is clearly available on the Internet but have again refused to provide the URL. Its a shame because you very often provide good sense on this site but today are almost deliberately underperforming. robmorleyuk

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