Problems with other CouncilsWe've received many emails from people up and down the country letting us know of problems they are experiencing with their councils. Often people are seeking our advice on what they should do. It's clear that many councils are alienating residents through their actions, particularly over parking.
We're sorry but we're not able to provide advice about other situations. In part, this is due to time constraints but also because each situation is unique and usually complex. We would however just make the following points:
1. If you are thinking of challenging parking charges imposed by your council, look to see if there is actual hard evidence that the council is motivated by raising revenue. We won our case against Barnet Council, and felt confident enough to bring it, because of clear undisputed evidence that the council raised parking charges for the minority residents in CPZs in order to raise money and thereby keep the council tax down. Other challenges against Westminster and Camden failed because there wasn't this sort of clear evidence of revenue raising.
2. In most cases, the way to challenge the actions of your council is to bring a judicial review action. This is a legal action brought in the High Court. These need to be brought promptly, within three months at most of the decision which you are challenging having been taken. High Court actions are also costly (tens of thousands of pounds at least) and recent changes mean that you are now unlikely to take advantage of a "no win, no fee" agreement with your solicitors in order to help bring a claim.
Barnet don't follow the spirit of the judgment
A supporter has told us that Barnet are refusing to reimburse residents who bought half day visitor vouchers for £2.20 even though the effect of the Court ruling is that residents should only have been charged £1 for a whole day.
Strictly Barnet may be right in that half day vouchers (introduced a year after the other increases), were not technically part of the legal action. But surely if the effect of the court ruling is to reduce the cost of a full day voucher to £1, the Council should follow the spirit of the judgment and also reimburse people who bought half day vouchers so that they too only pay £1?