Lambeth Council has knowingly left a misleading parking sign on its streets, and is gathering fines from people who have parking there in good faith.
Despite knowing the sign is wrong, the council appears to be ignoring appeals over the bogus parking fines, and has not made any effort to correct the sign, so more people will be suckeered into paying unnecessary fines.
I parked my car near a shop on Effra Road, on a Sunday morning, May 20. I was on a bit of road labelled "Bus Stop", but I was a long way from the stop itself, and right next to a sign that said parking restrictions didn't apply on Sunday, and loading was allowed during the week.
I was a bit surprised. "Bus stops aren't very restrictive," I thought. "Maybe it's OK this end of the bus stop." The sign said I could park, so I parked.
A couple of weeks later, I got a Penalty Charge Notice, based on a CCTV photo of my car in the bus stop. A traffic warden would have seen that the spot was mis-labelled, and wouldn't have issued the fine, I thought.
I went back to Effra Road, and saw that the sign was still there. I took the photos you see here, and sent in an appeal.
Yesterday, I got a letter from an un-named Parking Investigations Officer, at Lambeth Parking Services.
The letter makes no reference to my complaint. It lists seven grounds for appeal, but doesn't mention the possibility that Lambeth Parking might have got its signs wrong.
It takes a somewhat bullying tone, warning that I can still get away with a £50 fine, but if I appeal again and lose, I'll have to pay £100 - or more. "If your formal representations are rejected, we will send you an Appeals form so that you can make an appeal to the Independent Adjudicator. The Adjudicator's decision is binding and he or she can order the payment of costs against either the Local Authority or the regitered keeper if either party has been particularly unreasonable.
As far as I know the sign is still there. I think it may be an old sign that was left have been left there when the bus stop was extended.
Lambeth knows the sign is wrong. Since my appeal went in, it has been covered with black plastic, but this has now weathered away, so the sign is once more luring people to park in a place where Lambeth spy-camera operators can fine them.
I wonder if the sign is being left there deliberately?