I received a penalty charge notice on road with no parking sign — can I challenge it?

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Car Clinic: Pay and display

Q. I parked on a stretch of road where I could see no pay-and-display machine or sign relating to parking fees or restrictions, yet I was issued with a penalty charge notice (PCN). I have established that there was a sign more than 30 metres along the road, and the pay-and-display machine was on another street. Can I challenge the PCN on the basis of inadequate signage?
LM, Crewe

A. You may have grounds to appeal to the traffic penalty tribunal, details of which are on your ticket and online. The enforcement of a parking restriction requires that the road user be given adequate information about it.

Signs must be of the size, colour and type specified by the regulations, which you’ll find at tinyurl.com/kak37ph.

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Non-compliance with these rules does not automatically render the contravention unenforceable, but it may if the sign or its absence misled the motorist, causing them to commit the offence. The first thing you must determine is whether you were within a controlled parking zone (CPZ), an area in which every part of every road is controlled, with signs at the entrances to the area showing when the restrictions apply.

There is no subsequent obligation for signs to be placed at individual parking locations within a CPZ.

Outside CPZs, the Department for Transport says that if the length of the bay (in this case the total length of all the parking spaces) is less than 30 metres — or about 100ft — the signs describing the parking restrictions should be no more than 15 metres from the bay. One sign in the middle of the bay is also sufficient. For longer bays there should be a sign every 30 metres, so in your case I think it was at the limit of what is acceptable.

It is difficult to make a judgment without having more information, but you may be able to appeal on the basis of the sign’s distance and how conspicuous it is. Check the PCN for precise details of the contravention, find out if it was a CPZ and take snaps of both bay and sign.
Sunday Times Driving Car Clinic: Nick Freeman, legal advice

Nick Freeman is a solicitor who runs a legal practice in Manchester specialising in road traffic law – read more from Nick here.

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