A driver who was fined £100 for parking outside a property on a residential estate has had the charge overturned after a successful fight.
Lesley Anderson was seething after she was given a ticket while visiting the St Mary’s Park development, off Dilly Lane in Hartley Wintney, on January 23.
She appealed the decision, which ruled in her favour in a letter issued last Tuesday.
Mrs Anderson was helped in her appeal by Fleet resident and parking campaigner Peter Ashford, who said she had received the £100 parking charge demand, issued by UKPC, for ‘parking briefly at night’ in Damson Drive.
“She complained of having seen no warning that she was on private land or that there were any restrictions of parking,” Mr Ashford added.
After UKPC refused to cancel the charge, Mrs Anderson appealed to Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA), the private land parking appeal tribunal, which upheld her appeal and cancelled the charge.
Mr Ashford said that on examining the parking ticket, which he said was ‘defective’, he visited St Mary’s Park and identified 13 ‘serious defects’ in UKPC’s operation, ‘any one of which justified cancellation of its £100 demand’.
Mr Ashford said: “In UKPC’s initial response to the appeal, they produced no valid evidence to show they had any authority from, or on behalf of, the unknown land owner of Damson Drive to enforce any ‘prohibition of parking in a roadway’.
“Nor did they show that such a prohibition authorised by, or on behalf of, the land owner even exists.
“UKPC has no lawful power to operate enforcement at St Mary’s Park. They are an authorised operator of the British Parking Association (BPA) and may conduct enforcement only if they comply with the mandatory requirements of the BPA Operator Code of Practice, which they don’t. That invalidates any contract they may have to operate.”
Mr Ashford said the estate’s entrance is via Damson Drive and the code requires that UKPC must place a prominent ‘Private Land’ notice at the entrance to St Mary’s Park.
“There is no such mandatory notice and Damson Drive is actually signed with Hart District Council street nameplates, which clearly indicates it is a public highway where private company enforcement isn’t possible,” said Mr Ashford.
“The UKPC signs around the estate don’t comply with the code. They are full of irrelevant verbiage, the text is only 6mm high on signs set far back from the roadway against the walls of houses level with upstairs windows.
“They are unlikely to be noticed in daytime and are near invisible at night, when Mrs Anderson parked her car.”
In allowing the appeal, tribunal assessor Ricky Powell said it was only necessary to consider one submission: that UKPC had no authority from the landowner to issue parking charges on the land and, specifically, that UKPC had been unable to prove who owned the land.
Mr Powell said that, on the balance of probabilities, he did not find the operator had valid authorisation to issue parking charges on the land.
Mr Ashford said he was delighted to have helped Mrs Anderson. “It’s important that people get to understand exactly what’s wrong with so much of this private land enforcement,” he added.
“Lesley is rightly concerned about drivers being misled and conned at other new estates, which must be signed as private land at all entrances. I hope this case will prevent a repetition of this elsewhere.”
Mrs Anderson was relieved to have won, adding: “I’m very thankful to Peter Ashford for his time, patience and determination in helping me fight the appeal.”
UKPC was unavailable for comment as the News & Mail went to press