“Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

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domcoop
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by domcoop » Tue Sep 14, 2021 21:20

Bomag wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 14:08
While slightly simplistic my point was correct, the restriction on placing signs depends on whether the sign is being placed on a highways or road. For private roads open to the public it is the roads owner who is liable for compliance with traffic signs law.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this! As a principle of statutory interpretation, the use of "road or other public place" in the provisions relating to insurance and being drunk in charge tells a court that Parliament specifically believed there was a difference between a road and another public place. That being so, if they'd wanted to include public places that aren't roads in section 36, they'd have said it. There is a fancy Latin expression for this - inclusio unius est exclusio alterius.
Vierwielen wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 16:32
Micro The Maniac wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 15:48
Bus lane/gate cameras permit the authorities to capture minor infractions (never mind bigger infringements)...

The obvious answer in this case is to introduce access controls to the road... eg ANPR controlled barriers
Or as an alternative, introduce toll barriers with tags available to regular users. There might be a case for the government to coordinate standard tags for certain users - emergency service vehicles that can be used anywhere in the country.
I think because of the legislation and it being private land, the only thing they could do is persuade Kent County Council (or is it Medway there?) to make a proper formal Traffic Regulation Order prohibiting vehicles except for access, but even then I'm not sure there is anything to legally stop a vehicle from exiting through such a restriction. And you'd have to expect the police to enforce it (which they might do once in a while, but aren't going to do on a regular basis).

But what is the actual harm here? The problem arises because CP Parking want to charge anyone who stays in the services for more than 2 hours. They do this by putting ANPR plates on all the entries and exits. But if somebody leaves by the unofficial back road, and comes back later (like Mr Gent, who entered the service area at 12:09 on the 17th December 2018, and left at 15:52 on the same date), how do they know whether he parked there or left and re-entered? This is a known issue in the private parking enforcement world, called "double dipping". So far as CP Parking are concerned, they will just treat it as full time parked since their computer system (or more likely the computer system of their contractor someone like Zatpark) just issues the letters and tickets automatically with zero human input. Does protecting the revenue stream of a private parking company justify making TROs? I'd say no.
Dominic

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by PhilC » Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:28

As you drive into the service area eastbound, there is this sign. Good luck if you you manage to see it behind the tree, let alone read it.

https://goo.gl/maps/9exFQs1mbPdArqmp8

Examining it more closely, it purports to restrict free parking to two hours.

https://goo.gl/maps/BZgwzWoAgFwLS4Yu9

Contractually I would say CP Plus are making the offer of parking for the stated fee, which the driver than accepts by parking in a space, paying the appropriate fee if staying for longer than two hours. We have an offer, acceptance and consideration so legally a contract could have been created. If the driver does not agree to these conditions he is free to drive straight through the services without parking and continue on his way. The sign doesn't appear to attempt to restrict anything other than parking.

The complication only arises if the driver leaves the service area by an unofficial route. On both sides of the motorway a driver would have to pass a No Entry sign to access these unofficial exits. Whether on private land or not, I would expect any driver to know that a No Entry sign is to be obeyed, and to be mindful of the consequences if they don't.

https://goo.gl/maps/TcapWMSom9M5kFMr8
https://goo.gl/maps/dhWzkLBZovhyY2uf8

As an aside, someone driving along Meresborough Road would be faced with these signs.

https://goo.gl/maps/Fa8hp5ahnccY5DMx7

If you don't know the area, it would be natural to turn right into what appears to be a perfectly good road. It is only when you get to the other end of the road that you realise you've strayed onto a motorway service area. The only legitimate way out is to drive onto the motorway, so presumably the ANPR cameras could register you car leaving without having arrived in the first place. What would they make of this I wonder? Worse still, if non motorway traffic turned down the road, the driver could be presented with a situation where there is no legal route out.

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Vierwielen
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Vierwielen » Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:56

baroudeur wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 15:40
Having now looked at Medway MSA on GSV the entry to the service road onto the coast bound service area has no signs and at the exit from the parking area onto the service road there is this sign https://tinyurl.com/24tnvcbw
If you look at the picture, you will see that it is quite easy for a large van to be waiting at the "Give Way" triangle and obscure the "No entry, Private Road" sign.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by domcoop » Wed Sep 15, 2021 21:18

PhilC wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 11:28
The complication only arises if the driver leaves the service area by an unofficial route. On both sides of the motorway a driver would have to pass a No Entry sign to access these unofficial exits. Whether on private land or not, I would expect any driver to know that a No Entry sign is to be obeyed, and to be mindful of the consequences if they don't.
True, but by definition you haven't parked there if you do that, so the consequences do not include being charged for parking as if you did!

Incidentally, whilst it is true of course that nobody is going to be able to read the sign on entry, I'd think any court would happily accept that a driver who is aware they are parking in an area where there are signs (even if they hadn't read them) would be expected to understand that there could be restrictions and / or charges applicable. Therefore the operator would ensure that there are multiple signs placed at regular intervals, so that a driver who knows there is a sign (but not what it says) and has parked, would have the opportunity once he or she has got out of the car to go an have a look. (Just like you would go to the parking machine in a pay and display car park, for example).

If an operator like CP Parking wants to get ANPR data from the DVLA by computer (as opposed to be filling in a paper form), they have to be a member of an approved parking organisation, and the terms of the approved organisations require regular repeated signs (at least every 20 metres if I remember correctly, or it may be 50 metres).

But in my view, no sign is going to cover entering and leaving by an access route, whether it has a pretend Diag 616 (unlit) or not!
Dominic

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Bryn666
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Bryn666 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 22:24

The easiest fix would be to just close the exit road if it's causing such grief. The local highway authority could insist on this if it really wanted to.

Looking at maps of the area, it appears the problem is generally entitled drivers refusing to use the purpose built for them road infrastructure to M2 J4. I've not got an iota of sympathy for people being "harassed" by private parking enforcement in this situation.
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by c2R » Wed Sep 15, 2021 22:35

The hotel really is the main complicating factor here; I've had the pleasure myself and although it's possible to turn around at the next junction and double back on yourself, it's further to do so, thus creating more pollution and congestion at J4 or 5 by doing so.
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Bryn666
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Bryn666 » Wed Sep 15, 2021 23:03

c2R wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 22:35
The hotel really is the main complicating factor here; I've had the pleasure myself and although it's possible to turn around at the next junction and double back on yourself, it's further to do so, thus creating more pollution and congestion at J4 or 5 by doing so.
This of course could be resolved by having an access barrier controlled by a passcode given to hotel guests. This is how you access the disabled badge holder car park at Disneyland Paris, and to prevent people passing the code on to people who shouldn't have it, it changes regularly. Such a solution would cost a couple of thousand quid tops.

What would be interesting to know is the exact status of the access road - is it purely private land or is it covered by the original side roads order for the M2?
Bryn
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Bomag » Thu Sep 16, 2021 13:37

domcoop wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 21:20
Bomag wrote:
Tue Sep 14, 2021 14:08
While slightly simplistic my point was correct, the restriction on placing signs depends on whether the sign is being placed on a highways or road. For private roads open to the public it is the roads owner who is liable for compliance with traffic signs law.
We'll just have to agree to disagree on this! As a principle of statutory interpretation, the use of "road or other public place" in the provisions relating to insurance and being drunk in charge tells a court that Parliament specifically believed there was a difference between a road and another public place. That being so, if they'd wanted to include public places that aren't roads in section 36, they'd have said it. There is a fancy Latin expression for this - inclusio unius est exclusio alterius.
There is nothing to disagree with. When discussing traffic signs the definition of a road is covered by Section 142(1) RTRA 1984. This includes a private road for which the public has access. Sections 64(1) and (2) define what traffic sign is and that a traffic sign must be the size, colour and type prescribed etc.

The wording of Section 64 relates to conveying a warning, information's etc to traffic on a 'road'. Therefore any traffic sign on private land the public have access to as a 'Road' must comply with the TSRGD. This includes MSA etc - your original post incorrectly implied they do not. This been discussed several times with MSA operators and most cannot be bothered. No highway or road authority has any powers of compulsion, other than closing the access.

I am still not certain why you are quoting RTA 1988, the only relevance is related to Section 36 which provides for sign to directly indicate a requirement or prohibition.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by John McAdam » Thu Sep 16, 2021 20:22

Micro The Maniac wrote:
Mon Sep 13, 2021 15:48
Bus lane/gate cameras permit the authorities to capture minor infractions (never mind bigger infringements)...

The obvious answer in this case is to introduce access controls to the road... eg ANPR controlled barriers
Within the past couple of years Clacket Lane services on the M25 have installed new and far more substantial barriers on the access roads that lead to the eponymous Clacket Lane itself, and these seem to be in operation most if not all of the time. Previously the older barriers were often left open.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Vierwielen » Thu Sep 16, 2021 20:49

Bryn666 wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 22:24
The easiest fix would be to just close the exit road if it's causing such grief. The local highway authority could insist on this if it really wanted to.

Looking at maps of the area, it appears the problem is generally entitled drivers refusing to use the purpose built for them road infrastructure to M2 J4. I've not got an iota of sympathy for people being "harassed" by private parking enforcement in this situation.
The access to the Fleet Services (Westbound) service road is shown here. Notice that there are TWO "No Entry" signs plus a plethora of "Private" signs couples with all sorts of threats as to what happens if you try to use the road. "I didn't know m'lud" won't carry any weight here. Here is the service road from the East-bound Services. Fewer signs, but an obvious gate. The access road is only a few metres long - the road that you can see in the background is a public road.

Prior to the opening of Junction 4a, these exits were used regularly by Fleet residents, but things have changed - in particular there are CCTV cameras all over the place..

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Glenn A » Sat Sep 18, 2021 12:08

You take pot luck with private parking fines, although more parking companies are taking people to court and you can be landed with a much bigger fine and a CCJ if they do decide to take matters further. In many cases, a first offence will result in three sternly worded warning letters, then nothing. My sister was fined £ 80 by UK Parking last year, decided to ignore the letters and after three attempts, they never wrote back and I'd assume the matter is closed now. However, the local hospital, which uses parking wardens, does take people to court regularly who refuse to pay.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by SteelCamel » Sat Sep 18, 2021 16:08

Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 20:49
The access to the Fleet Services (Westbound) service road is shown here. Notice that there are TWO "No Entry" signs plus a plethora of "Private" signs couples with all sorts of threats as to what happens if you try to use the road. "I didn't know m'lud" won't carry any weight here.
I don't see anything there that really states any consequences to using the road. Yes, the "Private" and "No entry" is quite clear, so you're trespassing if you use the road. This means that the owners can sue you for the damages you caused to them by using the road - if they can produce any evidence that you caused them a loss by doing so, which could be difficult. "Trespassers may be prosecuted" is an empty threat, as trespass is not in itself a criminal offence in England. And "any act of vandalism may result in prosecution" is both stating the obvious and no threat to anyone intending to drive along the road without stopping to vandalize anything on the way.

The fact that it's difficult to sue for trespass is why the parking restrictions tend to rely on contract law. It's well accepted that posting parking conditions clearly is an offer of a contract which you can accept by parking (or refuse by driving away). Then it's a claim for breach of contract if you don't pay the amount stated. But to prove their claim, they need to prove that you were aware of the signs (which is why there are so many - it seems to be accepted that a sufficient number of signs means that you can't claim to be unaware of them), and that you did in fact park. The issue at Rainham is that they are claiming that someone parked based on the fact that they passed the entry slip road, and at a later point passed the exit slip road, so must have been parked in the services in between. But this isn't the case - it's quite possible to drive in the entry slip road and straight out the back exit, and later return via the back exit and leave by the exit slip. Now, that's not permitted, but it still invalidates their proof that the person parked. And if they didn't park, they didn't accept the contract, and aren't liable for the parking charge.

If the back exit had a sign indicating a charge for using it, then that would solve the issue:
"You parked for six hours. £80 parking charge, please"
"No I didn't. I went out the back exit."
"OK, I'll cancel your parking charge. £100 charge for using the back exit, please".

As would adding ANPR cameras to the back exit, or a barrier, but a sign is cheaper.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Glenn A » Sat Sep 18, 2021 17:28

Private parking enforcement and cameras on private roads are a dark art, as it's not the same as a local authority or the police, who have the power to take you to court. It's all a case of a contract between you and the parking company and breaking these rules are a breach of contract.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Bendo » Sat Sep 18, 2021 20:16

Glenn A wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 17:28
Private parking enforcement and cameras on private roads are a dark art, as it's not the same as a local authority or the police, who have the power to take you to court. It's all a case of a contract between you and the parking company and breaking these rules are a breach of contract.
Except the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 gives them the power to take the keeper to court (provided certain conditions are met) if the keeper doesn't name the driver.

In my experience, many of them fail to meet the requirements of the act and back down before court.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by domcoop » Mon Sep 20, 2021 10:57

Bendo wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 20:16
Glenn A wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 17:28
Private parking enforcement and cameras on private roads are a dark art, as it's not the same as a local authority or the police, who have the power to take you to court. It's all a case of a contract between you and the parking company and breaking these rules are a breach of contract.
Except the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 gives them the power to take the keeper to court (provided certain conditions are met) if the keeper doesn't name the driver.

In my experience, many of them fail to meet the requirements of the act and back down before court.
Having been responsible for pursuing thousands of private parking tickets on behalf of my clients, and personally having taken a fair few court actions on them (including one where I took it to an appeal to a Circuit Judge), I can tell you it's more likely a risk / benefit analysis than "backing down".

The County Court enforcement system is crap (and that's the official technical term, which you can quote me on). It might cost £15, £25, £30 to issue an individual claim, and the chances are you're never going to see that money again.

However, when we look on the system and see Ms Bloggs has 18 tickets (£2,160 plus solicitors costs and 8% interest), then it becomes worth it, even though the issue fee is higher.

When we see Ms Bloggs has 18 tickets AND her mum has written in saying "it's a disgrace you're charging a student for these fees" (as happened in real life), then we know Ms Bloggs exists, was the driver, doesn't want legal action, has parents who will likely pay upon behalf of their daughter, and has knowingly parked in disregard of the conditions, thinking she'll get away with it. In such a case, although we know she'll fight it and drag it through the system, it's almost a certainty that Ms Bloggs is going to get a legal claim. If we win, it's over £600 so we can take it out of the County Court enforcement system and instructing private bailiffs working for the High Court too. (Or justify using some of the County Court enforcement system routes that are too expensive to justify for lower value debts, such as getting an attachment of earnings order, or summonsing them personally to attend court for examination).

The large amount of money involved also means there's a high likelihood that she'll back down and make an offer to settle (which we'll take) so it's even better.

But a single ticket registered to "Danny's Plastering, Unit 3, Industrial Estate, Anytown" probably won't get pursued, since it's nigh on impossible to enforce even if we win. It's not because the operator didn't meet the requirements of the Act. It's just not worth it.

Saying that Parking Eye Limited, a few years ago, used to just issue against them all. They figured that the reputation they'd get by doing that would avoid people not paying in the future, and they had sources of capital to pay the large cost involved (they got bought out by Capita, who then sold the business to private equity, so at each purchase of the company they had a lot of money sloshing around). I don't know if they still issue all their cases now though.
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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Vierwielen » Mon Sep 20, 2021 21:36

SteelCamel wrote:
Sat Sep 18, 2021 16:08
Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 20:49
The access to the Fleet Services (Westbound) service road is shown here. Notice that there are TWO "No Entry" signs plus a plethora of "Private" signs couples with all sorts of threats as to what happens if you try to use the road. "I didn't know m'lud" won't carry any weight here.
I don't see anything there that really states any consequences to using the road. Yes, the "Private" and "No entry" is quite clear, so you're trespassing if you use the road. This means that the owners can sue you for the damages you caused to them by using the road - if they can produce any evidence that you caused them a loss by doing so, which could be difficult. "Trespassers may be prosecuted" is an empty threat, as trespass is not in itself a criminal offence in England. And "any act of vandalism may result in prosecution" is both stating the obvious and no threat to anyone intending to drive along the road without stopping to vandalize anything on the way.
If you are threatened with trespassing, one way around the problem is to admit to trespassing, to have caused some wear and tear on the road to an amount not exceeding fifty pence and to enclose a cheque for fifty pence to cover the damage. Banks normally charge commercial organisations more than that to process the cheque - for example Lloyds Bank charges 85p.

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Re: “Medway Moto Services on M2 near Rainham under fire over 'unfair and greedy' parking fines”

Post by Bomag » Mon Sep 20, 2021 22:32

Vierwielen wrote:
Thu Sep 16, 2021 20:49
Bryn666 wrote:
Wed Sep 15, 2021 22:24
The easiest fix would be to just close the exit road if it's causing such grief. The local highway authority could insist on this if it really wanted to.

Looking at maps of the area, it appears the problem is generally entitled drivers refusing to use the purpose built for them road infrastructure to M2 J4. I've not got an iota of sympathy for people being "harassed" by private parking enforcement in this situation.
The access to the Fleet Services (Westbound) service road is shown here. Notice that there are TWO "No Entry" signs plus a plethora of "Private" signs couples with all sorts of threats as to what happens if you try to use the road. "I didn't know m'lud" won't carry any weight here. Here is the service road from the East-bound Services. Fewer signs, but an obvious gate. The access road is only a few metres long - the road that you can see in the background is a public road.

Prior to the opening of Junction 4a, these exits were used regularly by Fleet residents, but things have changed - in particular there are CCTV cameras all over the place..
Both ends of the access have no entry signs - that is not lawful. One, or both ends must have a no vehicles / no motor vehicles sign.

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