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Parking fine refunded for out of sight' signs

PUBLISHED: 14:36 03 January 2008 | UPDATED: 14:39 07 September 2010

A HIGHGATE couple are celebrating after finally getting an unfair parking ticket overturned. Robin McConnell and Suzanne Graeber will get their money refunded by Haringey Council after a night in the pub resulted in a day at court. The coup

Kaya Burgess

A HIGHGATE couple are celebrating after finally getting an unfair parking ticket overturned.

Robin McConnell and Suzanne Graeber will get their money refunded by Haringey Council after a night in the pub resulted in a day at court.

The couple who live on Stanhope Road parked their car in North Road when they went to a birthday party at the nearby Red Lion and Sun.

Mr McConnell, who works as a business consultant, said: "We parked there at about 8pm on a Thursday in June and it was not clear whether it was a residents parking zone or not.

"We went to the pub and then walked home but when my partner went to get the car on the Saturday it had gone. She initially thought it had been stolen but it had in fact been towed away."

The car had been ticketed on Friday for being parked in a residents' bay and then towed away a few hours later.

A furious Mr McConnell attempted to resolve the matter with Haringey Council by explaining that the signs on the road were not clear. But the council refused to reimburse the £40 ticket and £150 clamp release fee.

So after months of wrangling, the couple took the case to the independent tribunal - the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service.

The appeal ruled in Mr McConnell's favour because the nearest sign about parking restrictions was more than 40 metres from his car when guidelines stress they should be at a minimum of 30 metre intervals.

And because North Road is in a conservation area, the signs have to be low - making them hard to see above car-roof level.

It is not the first time Haringey Council has been in a spot of bother over its parking signs in the borough.

In July, an independent adjudicator ruled that a sign in Southwood Lane did not meet specific Department for Transport guidelines on "wording and form".

In the latest case the adjudicator said: "The resident bay concerned is subject to low-level plated signs and the appellant case is that these were missed because there were not enough of them.

"On seeing the parking attendant photos taken in conjunction with the removal, I have concluded the appeal is properly allowed."

The adjudication ruled that Haringey Council must cancel the penalty charge and refund the fine and release fee paid by Mr McConnell and Miss Graeber.

Mr McConnell said: "It has been quite an ordeal. It is only £190 but it does make you think what purpose is being served here - is it traffic management or revenue raising?

"It has been a story of incompetence and bad faith from Haringey Council throughout."

A Haringey Council spokesman said: "The council is of the view that the parking bays at this location are clearly marked out.

"A number of officers undertook site visits prior to the personal hearing of this matter and the parking bays were clearly marked out at that time.

"The council is considering its options in relation to this decision."

editorial@hamhigh.co.uk

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