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London Borough of Lewisham (20 011 870)

Category : Transport and highways > Parking and other penalties

Decision : Closed after initial enquiries

Decision date : 29 Mar 2021

The Ombudsman's final decision:

Summary: We cannot investigate this complaint about a Penalty Charge Notice because the complainant appealed to the tribunal.

The complaint

  1. The complainant, whom I refer to as Ms X, complains about a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) she received after the Council made temporary changes to the road layout. She says the signs were confusing and unclear and other people had their fines cancelled after they complained.

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The Ombudsman’s role and powers

  1. The Local Government Act 1974 sets out our powers but also imposes restrictions on what we can investigate.
  2. We cannot investigate a complaint if someone has appealed to a tribunal or a government minister or started court action about the matter. (Local Government Act 1974, section 26(6), as amended)
  3. London Tribunals (previously known as the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service) considers parking and moving traffic offence appeals for London.

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How I considered this complaint

  1. I read the complaint and the tribunal decision. I invited Ms X to comment on a draft of this decision.

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What I found

What happened

  1. The Council issued Ms X with a PCN because she entered a road which was prohibited to cars. Ms X appealed to the tribunal. She said the signs were confusing and unclear. She said the new layout was part of a trial which had been implemented without any consultation. She explained the road had since been reopened as the restrictions had not been successful.
  2. The tribunal adjudicator dismissed the appeal. He said the CCTV showed Ms X had committed the contravention and she drove past a sign which said that no motor vehicles were allowed. The adjudicator was satisfied there were valid restrictions in force and that the Council had correctly issued the PCN. The adjudicator said that the subsequent changes to the restrictions did not affect the enforcement of the PCN. The tribunal directed Ms X to pay £130. Ms X paid the fine.

Assessment

  1. I cannot start an investigation because Ms X appealed to the tribunal. The law says we cannot investigate any matter that has been appealed to the tribunal. This restriction applies even if the person disagrees with the tribunal decision.
  2. Ms X says the Council cancelled PCNs after other people complained. This may or may not be the case but the Council assesses each case individually. And, as I have said, the tribunal found that the Council had correctly issued the PCN to Ms X.

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Final decision

  1. I cannot start an investigation because Ms X appealed to the tribunal.

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Investigator's decision on behalf of the Ombudsman

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