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Vehicle Control Services, Gallagher Retail Park Scunthorpe
Yogi_B
post Mon, 22 Feb 2016 - 11:00
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Hello to everyone and I'm hoping for some definitive advice regarding VCS of Sheffield who operate the site at Gallagher Retail park, Scunthorpe adjacent to the ground of Scunthorpe United F.C.

I have received one of their 'invoices' after straying onto the park in a company registered van in December. The circumstances are that at the time I was employed by an agency for a well-known automotive parts company, delivering to clients all over Lincolnshire, Yorkshire and the East Midlands. Instructions had been given to meet one of the clients to drop parts with him near to the retail park, rather than at his business premises, as the parts were needed straight away. On reaching the general area it had been impossible to immediately locate the client and the van was driven onto the retail park with a view to safely stopping in order to contact him by phone and pinpoint him. I was and still am to some degree entirely unfamiliar with the area.

The vehicle was a long wheelbase Sprinter van which is unsuitable to take into most car parks because of its size but as the area in question is a quiet road, bordered both sides by wasteland. Certainly as one enters the retail park, if there were any signs about stopping at the entrance, they were not very noticeable. Furthermore, there was no painted lines on the road surface or kerbs and I believe that any signs asking people not to stop or park are situated on the wasteland adjacent to the road but are not particularly clear. A stop was made within the park, to get out of the van and to make the necessary phone call, but having read the notice I then left the area, two or three minutes later minutes later, as shown by the 'invoice'.

The company received in January an' invoice' from VCS and I informed my manager at the time that this was not a valid notice, such as from the Police or Council, and that she should inform HR to stonewall VCS who had no power to demand the driver's details. Unfortunately, and much to my anger, this advice was not followed and coming back from holiday ten days ago, I found my 'invoice' dated 4th February from VCS, as I was registered as keeper of the vehicle on that day. I might add that since the end of January, my contract with this company expired and I no longer work for them.

Now I'm no expert on all this, which is why I'm asking for advice but from what I can glean from trawling through lots of threads is that VCS are not members of the BPA which means a Popla code is not an option to appeal but they use the not so Independant Appeals Service which are seemingly some kind of kangaroo court. My gut instinct is to totally ignore them and wait for the deluge of junk mail that will inevitably follow but as I believe things have changed somewhat regarding appeals etc, I ask your advice.

I certainly have no intention of paying a penny for a necessary two minute stop on a deserted back street road on a Tuesday lunchtime in December. I can understand that because of the proximity of Scunthorpe United, on match days some kind of restriction on parking might be suitable for this area but even so asking for £100, or £60 if paid quicker, does not represent an accurate charge for parking for two hours, let alone a stop of two minutes as borne out by their ,photographic evidence'.

Your comments and advice are greatly appreciated.

This post has been edited by Yogi_B: Tue, 23 Feb 2016 - 14:57
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post Mon, 22 Feb 2016 - 11:00
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Yogi_BB
post Wed, 8 Aug 2018 - 17:19
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Well after not replying to my letter as per post #68, I sent my last letter to them in reply to their second LBC and a letter dated 10 days after mine magically appeared in the post. In this they have included two photographs dated January 2015 of signs in situ. What I will call the 'main entrance' sign, for want of a better term, it is actually confusingly sited as I believe I've covered previously, has no mention of the fact that you are entering private property. The roadway is indistinguishable from that which precedes it other than it has no double yellows. A check of IPC COP, certainly for car parks, is that the main entrance sign should stipulate that the motorist is entering onto private property, so I can see another point to raise with them on that. They also include a second photo of another sign which I believe to be a repeater sign possibly which while it may have been insitu in January 2015, certainly wasn't in December of the same year. They have declined to provide a plan of where the signs were situated.

Once again they have refused point blank to provide a copy, (even redacted), of the contract with the landholder. In earlier communication from them they had named what I presume is the landholder/ owner in the top of a letter including the location. I won't name that limited company here but a check of companies register show that this was dissolved in October 2017. It also reveals that the company had not filed financial returns since September 2015 when it effectively became dormant. Those returns seem to show that during the preceding financial year Sept.2014-15 their main asset (the retail park) was sold, in other words at least three months, and possibly longer, before the PCN was issued to my vehicle. I might be clutching at straws here but I don't actually believe that they had a contract in place, certainly with the company they purport to manage for, to issue tickets at that time. As I say I may be clutching at straws but I don't intend to mention this to BWL at the moment but will see if it goes to court if I can get something from land registry to confirm the sale and present this in an evidence pack.

In my previous letter but one I had pointed out the case at Hull CC where the judge decided that a large part of the roadway in question was found to have been adopted by the local authority and they have chosen not to respond to this.

I'm struggling using Tinypics to get photos of the full letter to download because it's saying that the forum doesn't allow links to it but I'll keep trying. As always I welcome your advice on how or whether to respond.



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Cuthbert
post Wed, 8 Aug 2018 - 17:33
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You need to write to them asking again for an unredacted contract and if you do not receive this you will ask for any claim to be struck out as the have not followed the pre action protocol.
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Yogi_BB
post Wed, 8 Aug 2018 - 19:02
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PAGE 1


PAGE 2


Think that I've finally been able to post a link to their latest letter.



QUOTE (Cuthbert @ Wed, 8 Aug 2018 - 18:33) *
You need to write to them asking again for an unredacted contract and if you do not receive this you will ask for any claim to be struck out as the have not followed the pre action protocol.


Thanks for that. Yes I intend to ask them once again, this will be either the fourth or fifth occasion. I will post up a draft response in a day or two for comments.
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 10:12
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Also point out

1) that the company they claimed their contract was with sold their only asset - the car park - 3 months befroe the PCN was issued, and was dormant after that
2) That therefore the company ceased to have any standing to offer their client a parking contract to "manage" the car park
3) That if they disgaree you will require a copy of the unredacted contract. This is not commercially sensitive as the company is involved. Their refusal to comply with the pre action protocol is being noted.
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Yogi_BB
post Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 16:44
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QUOTE (nosferatu1001 @ Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 11:12) *
Also point out

1) that the company they claimed their contract was with sold their only asset - the car park - 3 months befroe the PCN was issued, and was dormant after that
2) That therefore the company ceased to have any standing to offer their client a parking contract to "manage" the car park
3) That if they disgaree you will require a copy of the unredacted contract. This is not commercially sensitive as the company is involved. Their refusal to comply with the pre action protocol is being noted.


As always thanks Nosferatu.

I had thought that perhaps it would be best to keep this information from the enemy until it was time to produce a defence. I'm not sure at this time who the property was actually sold to, I haven't got round to doing a land registry search and am relying on the company's filed accounts so far. The company was one of a group, all interconnected, and I suspect that they may have just transferred it within that group. If that were the case and knowing VCS's propensity for telling porkies then that would give them ample opportunity to concoct something in the meantime to counter this. Given that nearly three years later they are still displaying signs on the land there is the possibility that they have kept some connection and could tailor it to try and hoodwink the court.

I might be wrong here but I thought that if this information was submitted in my evidence pack, therefore at the latest permissible opportunity, they would either miss this entirely as they have known to be incompetent, or it would give them less wriggle-room timewise to cook something up.

In the meantime I intend to ask once again for a copy of the contract which will add to the occasions that they have been asked and anticipating a refusal again, will add this to my defence along with the others.

Your thoughts, as always, welcome.
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nosferatu1001
post Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 18:39
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If you wish to delay then you do need to ensure standing would be in the defence, so it's not an ambush 😊
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Yogi_BB
post Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 19:37
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QUOTE (nosferatu1001 @ Thu, 9 Aug 2018 - 19:39) *
If you wish to delay then you do need to ensure standing would be in the defence, so it's not an ambush 😊


I realise that you're not allowed to ambush on the day but am I right to assume that if it is in the defence pack served on the claimant and the court that wouldn't constitute as one?
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nosferatu1001
post Fri, 10 Aug 2018 - 08:07
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As long as it relates to a defence point you have already raised, then your ws can adduce evidence that relates to that defence point without it being an ambush.
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Yogi_BB
post Today, 12:39
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The draft of my next letter is below, can I ask for your comments/ critique please.

I refer to your latest correspondence dated xxxx 2018 with regard to the above.

You have included two photographs of signs that were at the location, an ‘entrance sign’ and ‘restricted zone sign’. These signs you go on to say comply with the International Parking Community (IPC) code of practice (COP). In the case of the ‘entrance sign’ this is certainly not the case because Schedule 1 of the COP states that signage must make it CLEAR that a motorist is entering onto private land, no such information is on that sign.

It is a perfectly reasonable request to ask for a plan and maintenance details for signs on the site, something that, for no other reason than you say client is not obliged to, you have refused to provide. I would also ask that details include size of both the signs and the lettering contained therein.
Despite repeated requests, you continue to refuse to provide a copy ( even a redacted one) of the contract purportedly held by your client with the owner of the land at the time. There can be no credible reason to continue with this stance, other than perhaps a valid contract was not actually in force at the time. You cannot expect me, or indeed any other defendant, to believe that your client has any kind of authority to issue invoices and demand payment for any site without providing a copy of a contract.

You state that the signage in situ makes provision to recover additional costs. I have already pointed out previously to you that Civil Protection Rules (27.14) do not allow such costs to be claimed through the small claims track, but would also point out the photo of the ‘entrance sign’ that you have provided, makes no mention of any such charges being recoverable.

Your use of the case CPS v AJH Films is irrelevant as it is only applicable in an employee/employer situation. This was not such a situation.

It is only your highly subjective assertion that a motorist ‘entering the location’ forms a unilateral contract. As has been highlighted, the ‘entry sign’ in this case was deficient in required detail and in any case impossible to read for anyone driving a moving motor vehicle- something to an objective observer, to borrow your phrase, would consider unachievable without actually stopping. The same 'objective observer' would, I'm sure, be unaware of crossing into a 'restricted' roadway that is undistinguishable from that which precedes it.

It is of note that you have failed to address, as mentioned in my letter of xx April, the case of VCS v Hedley (Case number C8DP3H0H) on 20/02/2017 in the County Court at Kingston upon Hull where a significant part of the roadway in question was found to be a highway maintainable at public expense and your client therefore had no right to issue penalties.

You conclude that your client’s position has not changed. My position similarly remains the same, any alleged debt is denied and will not be paid unless ordered to by a court.

Yours faithfully
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nosferatu1001
post Today, 13:42
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You shoudl also note that teh POFA is very clear that the MAXIMUM sum that can be claimed from a keeper under the Schedule is the amount on the NtK. You require an explanation from them of how they believe their client can override statute.
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Yogi_BB
post Today, 15:30
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QUOTE (nosferatu1001 @ Thu, 16 Aug 2018 - 14:42) *
You shoudl also note that teh POFA is very clear that the MAXIMUM sum that can be claimed from a keeper under the Schedule is the amount on the NtK. You require an explanation from them of how they believe their client can override statute.


Thanks Nosferatu, I shall add that and post up. Other than that any other suggestions?
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ViroBono
post Today, 15:37
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QUOTE
Civil Protection Rules (27.14)


Civil Procedure Rules.
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