I published a long case for costs in my Parking dispute with Southend Council. I was not happy to be turned down for costs because I found no reasonableness in the council’s actions.
I complained about this because the Adjudicator did not share with me what Southend Council had said to him or her in answer to my claim for costs.
I now have Southend Council's defence of my claim for costs and they consist of just four words, "Item of correspondence incorrect".
On the basis of these four less than compelling words, the Adjudicator considering the Monks v Southend Council has spoken and declared that Southend Council have acted, “far from unreasonably”.
Another Alternative Adjudicator, Mr James Richardson made a judgement in another case that found against Southend Council.
In this case Southend Council have also been found wanting by the local newspaper, The Evening Echo, who quote the Council’s strategic traffic manager, Zulfiquar Ali, who said about this case and in his defence, "In partnership with our parking contractors, APCOA, we do our utmost to ensure that we gather as much evidence as possible and that the penalty charge notices we issue are issued correctly and fairly and in accordance with our practices"
It is of course Zulfiquar Ali's practices which are the problem and not the solution, and we learn that Mr James Richardson has interpreted HM Government guidelines on the reasonable use of spy Cameras as follows:
That Spy Cams should only operate sparingly and where other conventional wardens cannot or do not operate. Not so in the Cat Flap Charlie case.
That Spy Cam operators should get out of their cars and check for disabled stickers. Not so in the Cat Flap Charlie case.
That a grace period of 3 minutes leeway is not enough, and that Southend Council should allow more time before they issue a ticket. Not so in the Cat Flap Charlie case. Not that the Monks needed leeway because we were legally unloading Cat Flap Charlie, and even so for less than two minutes.
If ever there was a more clear cut case of unreasonable behaviour by a Council, I would love to see it. On all counts the council fail. On all counts they were informed by written representation by the Monks. On all counts they ignored that representation without comment, and they did so, because in their world, they are accustomed to having it their way, or at least doing as little as possible to avoid tormenting the Monks and others.
The Council’s strategic traffic manager, Zulfiquar Ali, is “bullish” reports the Echo.
The Monks think that Mr Ali should begin writing letters of apology to Mrs Monk, and she will not be satisfied with four miserable words that do not amount to an excuse, let alone an apology.
The Four Words that convinced our Adjudicator that the Council were reasonable.