Wednesday 31 July 2013

Media and our Petition

      • You may be interested to hear that David will be on today's Jeremy Vine Radio Two Show at 1.30pm in case you are in a position to listen. 

      • As you know, Barnet may file an Appeal by the end of this week. Let's show them that residents do not want their hard earned money wasted on this course of action, and they should accept the Judgment given on 22nd July by Mrs Justice Lang DBE. If you have not yet signed the petition, you can do so here This is not limited to Barnet residents, so please ask all your friends, family, neighbours, colleagues to get on and sign. This is people power in motion. We need thousands of signatures. 

            Friday 26 July 2013

            If you were angry before, you'll be livid after reading this

            We've got two pieces of important news: 

            Council spent money fighting parking challenge that it considered "likely" it would it would lose.  Meanwhile it raked in millions it believed would likely to be declared unlawful.

            Council reports show that Barnet Council considered it likely that it would lose the legal challenge brought by resident David Attfield over its unfair residents' parking charges.  Yet it chose in our opinion:  

            • To waste over £100,000 in legal costs
            • To carry on claiming unlawful parking charges for nearly two years
            • And exposed David Attfield to enormous personal financial risk and stress
            The reports, described as Corporate Performance Indicators, highlight major risks that the Council faces in its delivery of Environment, Planning and Regeneration services. In a number of reports (including the earliest and most recent reports), the Council acknowledges that it is "likely" to lose the judicial review action (see for example page 15 of the Environment, Planning and Regeneration report for Quarter 1, 2011/2012).  

            When this was pointed out to the Council and they were asked to justify why they had fought the legal action, they replied that they had prudently taken a "pessimistic" view in these reports.

            Amazingly, according to the Council Leader, the Council "has no alternative but to look to appeal the decision".  This opinion is totally against what the trial Judge, Mrs Justice Lang DBE stated in her conclusions, that an appeal would have "no real prospect of success".

            There is an 'alternative', Barnet - accept you got these charges wrong, give up your hopeless resistance, refund the money, find a fairer way to fund the road maintenance budget and let us all move on! 

            Petition launched urging Council to accept High Court Ruling 

            If you think that it's time the council refunded the money it unlawfully claimed from you these past two years.

            And if you think that the Council will simply waste more public money by appealing against the ruling and that this will unjustly expose David Attfield to further legal costs and stress.

            Then please sign our petition urging the Council to do the right thing and accept the emphatic High Court ruling that has been made against it. 

            You can sign the petition using this link:

            You can tell Richard Cornelius, the Council Leader what you think at at 
            You can contact Dean Cohen,the Cabinet Member responsible for parking at
            Please also tell your MP what you think
            Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders green)
            Matthew Offard (Hendon)
            Theresa Villiers (Chipping Barnet)

            Please sign.  Please write.  It will send a powerful message to the council to end this madness.

            Tuesday 23 July 2013

            Details of our victory...and what happens now

            What the Judge ruled

            The High Court ruling is a complete vindication of our position. In a strong judgment, Mrs Justice Lang DBE concluded: 
            • That parking charges can be a significant cost for residents living in a CPZ, particularly where the hours are long or the residents have a low income
            • That the charges apply only to around 8% of residents 
            • That the Council was motivated by maximising income from CPZ residents to ease financial pressures on the Council
            • That councils should only be able to deliberately profit from residents where Parliament has very clearly allowed this.
            • In this case, the legislation did not allow councils to use parking charges in order to maximise income.
            • An increase in parking charges needs to serve a parking management purpose (e.g. to counter increased costs or to control demand for parking spaces).
            • This interpretation of the law is also supported by two earlier High Court decisions.       

            What happens next?

            Unless the Council brings a successful appeal, charges will revert to what they were before the rises (£40 for a permit and £1 for a visitor voucher) and residents will be entitled to a refund of the amounts that they have been overcharged.   

            We do not know yet if Barnet will try to appeal. They will need permission in order to bring an appeal but this was not granted by Mrs Justice Lang who said that an appeal would have "no real prospect of success".  But Barnet may still ask the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal. 

            We would urge the council not to bring an appeal. An appeal would delay residents receiving the refunds to which they are entitled, would waste more money on legal fees and would expose David Attfield to enormous financial risk in respect of the Council's legal costs.

            We would like all of our supporters to tell the Council, their local councillors and their MP that there is no justification in the Council continuing a legal fight that it has comprehensively lost. We will suggest ways for how you can do this in our next update. 

            Monday 22 July 2013

            WE WON!

            Further details will follow.

            In the meantime here is some media coverage our campaign has received today.

            BBC News - Car permit victory for campaigners
            ITV News - Rolling commentary through the day
            London Evening Standard - Councils can't use parking to raise revenues
            Times Series - Barnet Council used CPZ money for 'illegal and immoral purposes'
            Ham & High - Landmark High Court ruling deems Barnet Council CPZ charges ‘unlawful’
            Barnet Today -  CPZ price hike unlawful, says High Court judge
            This is Local London -Barnet's Labour group welcomes High Court ...
            The Guardian - Barnet residents win high court fight...
            Daily Mail - Motorists win landmark judgement ...

            and the actual judgement.

            Friday 19 July 2013

            Judgment Day: Monday 22 July

            The High Court will give its ruling on the legality of Barnet Council's CPZ charges on Monday 22 July.

            The Judgment will be given by Mrs Justice Lang at 10.00 am in Court 37 of the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL

            We will post the result here as soon as it is available.  

            Wednesday 3 July 2013

            High Court Judge hears our claim

            A number of supporters spent a tense  day in the High Court on 2 July as our legal challenge to Barnet's absurd CPZ parking charges was finally presented.

            The hearing was before Mrs Justice Lang who appeared fully engaged with the case. In summary, our argument was:

            • The CPZ increases were motivated purely by Barnet's desire to generate more income which it could spend on transport projects, primarily paying for concessionary fares.
            • This is shown in numerous council documents.  Indeed, Barnet do not deny that this is what they were doing.
            • We say that this is unlawful and that the legislation that allows councils to charge for parking was never intended to be used by councils simply to maximise profits.
            • Our interpretation, we say, is supported by two earlier legal cases: In both, the court held that councils needed to have a genuine reason for imposing charges, such as the need to control demand for parking.
            • But Barnet say that a need to raise money in hard times is in itself a genuine, lawful reason.  

            The Ham & High newspaper have also published a report about the hearing.

            Mrs Justice Lang is expected to deliver her judgment in the next couple of weeks.

            Monday 1 July 2013

            COURT HEARING - 2ND JULY 2013

            Here are the details for tomorrow's hearing:

            We are in Court 22 of the Royal Courts of Justice, Strand, London WC2A 2LL.


            The hearing will be before Mrs Justice Lang DBE and is due to start at 10.30am.  However, there may be another matter that will be heard first, so we may have to wait a little.

            For those who are able to attend all or part of the hearing, I think it should be quite interesting, but please remember no photographs in the court building.

            The Ham & High would like to do a photo shoot at 10am on the steps of the court.  If it is convenient, we would welcome anyone who can come along - the stronger our presence the better.