Tuesday, 19 February 2019


Dear Residents,

Firstly, I would like to say hello.  My family and I moved into Mill Hill a year ago and, for the first time since arriving in London 20 years ago I finally feel that this is home. Thank you to all those who have gone out of their way to make us feel welcome.

I am writing to you today in order to tell you why I have created the Saracens Parking Petition and what I would like it to achieve for all of us.

I am hoping that if you agree with me, you will support me either by signing the online petition or by offering some of your time to help.  There are a number of ways to help (see end of this post) so if you are interested, please do get in touch.

The Problem:

The Saracens host rugby matches at Allianz Park around 16 times per year.

To prevent non-Residents from parking on Residential streets on these 16 or so match days per year, the Council and Saracens decided to create and implement a controlled parking zone (CPZ) in the streets around the Allianz Park.  It then offered Residents the opportunity to get free parking permits - paid for by Saracens (not the Council).

While many Residents have received these permits, there are still a considerable number of Residents who continue to this day to suffer parking fines on these match days.

I have come across a number of very reasonable circumstances that resulted in local Residents being unfairly and unjustly fined for parking in their own streets. Here are just three examples of many:

1.       I have received complaints from Residents, who received fines for courtesy cars while their registered cars were undergoing.  As this was such a temporary state and as Saracen matches are so far and few between, they simply did not think about applying for permits for these temporary cars or could not apply fast enough.  As a result – they were FINED!

2.       I have come across instances where Residents legitimately applied for a permit online but the Council took too long to process and deliver these permits.  As a result – they were FINED!

3.       I have encountered Residents who found the event day signage of their street misleading and believed that they did not need permits on their particular streets.  As a result – they were FINED!. 

(By the way, this confusing signage is a big issue in Barnet and the London Tribunal actually agreed that the signage is misleading and represents entrapment and ruled against the Council ordering them to cancel the fine).

What is the Extent of the Problem?

Since starting this petition I have come across a large number of locals who have complained that they have been fined.  However, it comes as no surprise that, despite a Freedom of Information request, the Council refuses to divulge how many Residents have been penalised and fined for parking in their own streets during Saracens match days. It is clearly an embarrassingly large number because if the number were small, I guarantee you that they would be eager to find a way to publish those numbers.

So, while I simply don’t have numbers to support any claims, from my many conversations it seems that almost everyone I speak to has been fined or knows others who have been fined.  Based on this, I can only draw the conclusion that the numbers really are embarrassingly high.

The Solution

The solution is actually very simple.

We are not looking to cancel the parking restrictions.  On the contrary, we agree that this is a good tool for protecting the local Residents.

However, in order to better protect those legitimate Residents who just want to be left alone to live in their own streets without being fined and penalised, we suggest a very simple amendment to the way the enforcement is applied.

As per the wording of the petition itself:

We, the People......  (apologies to Gouverneur Morris)

We agree and approve the current system whereby local Residents can register their vehicles for free Event Day parking permits.

We also agree with the procedure followed that if a warden sees a vehicle parked without the Event Day permit, then a penalty ticket should be issued.

However, we propose the following amendment to ensure that Residents are better protected, not penalised:

If, for any reason a legitimate Resident has not managed to organise a Saracens Event Day permit in time, or has not managed to renew the permit in time or has changed cars and not managed to change details with the Council in time, or for any other reason has not managed to organise or alter a legitimate permit in time, and if that Resident’s car is ticketed, then that Resident will be given 14 days to register for an Event Day permit in the usual manner and with the usual paperwork required.

And if that Resident does indeed submit a valid and successful Event Day permit request within those 14 days, then that parking ticket will be automatically cancelled.


However, the Council clearly prefers to penalise its own Residents rather than protect them. Pity!


Back to Basics – The Essential Guiding Principles & Values of our Council

When considering such cases it is important, in my mind, to go back to basic core principles and core values and use these as a starting point.

Principle 1:  This is a rather naive but fundamentally important principle that Barnet Council is OUR Council and that the Councillors are OUR representatives and serve us and our interests. By extension, the Councillors, the Council itself and all its subcontractors need to remember that their primary objective and indeed duty is that serving, representing and protecting its Residents.  As simplistic as this sounds, we should be very careful not to lose sight of this all important foundational principle, or everything else unravels very quickly.

Principle 2:  Building on Principle 1 above, we should then absolutely expect our Council and its officers at all times to strive, work towards and find creative ways of helping and protecting its Residents - not to find ever-creative ways of punishing us and penalising us or seeing us as cash cows.

When it comes to these principles and values, it is very important that everyone at Council remembers this in all their dealings with Residents.  However, similarly, it is equally important for Residents to remember this and indeed to reinforce and expect these foundational principles to underpin all our dealings with our Council and our Councillors. This is our duty as much as it is our privilege.

I am encouraged to note that when campaigning for local elections, most (if not all) Councillors voice statements to this effect and talk in these terms, so I this is clearly not such a naive notion on my part.

Back to Basics – The Specific Purpose of the Saracens Parking Restriction

Here too, in all discussions relating to the Saracens Parking Restrictions, we must remember the basics.

The primary (and only)  purpose of this particular parking restriction was to placate local Residents who were rightly worried that if the Saracens were permitted to host matches in the area, then too many non-Residents would park in local streets on match days.

As the Council was clearly keen to do business with the Saracens, the olive branch offered to Residents was to introduce the parking restrictions to prevent non-Residents from parking in local streets on match days.  However, free permits would be offered to local Residents.  It is interesting to note that Saracens agreed to pay for these permits, not the Council.  So when the Council turns around and tells us how generous they have been ... need I say more?

The Council claims that they can’t amend the Saracens Controlled Parking Zone rules without amending ALL Controlled Parking Zones across Barnet

This raises a few points.

The first is that the Saracens CPZ is very different in nature and in structure to all other CPZs in the borough. 

a.       Unlike other CPZs, this one is not a constant, every day, year-round CPZ but only applies on a few days of the year with dates being decided throughout the year.  This makes it very erratic in nature and difficult to tune into.
b.      Unlike other CPZs, this one has not been created primarily for the benefit of the Residents.  This one was created specifically to enable a private organisation (Saracens) to host matches that would generate private profit for itself.
c.       Unlike other CPZs, when this one was created, both Barnet Council and Saracens specifically stated that Residents would not be inconvenienced.  While the Council claims that it cannot give numbers of how many Residents have been penalised by this specific CPZ, it is clear that the numbers are very significant and it is clear that many Residents feel that this is fundamentally unjust and yet another money making scheme for no other purpose than to promote the profits of a private organisation (Saracens)..
The second point is that, despite the fact that this CPZ is very different in so many fundamental ways to the more traditional CPZs , if you keep in mind that the primary objective and purpose of the Council is to serve, represent and protect its Residents, and that the primary purpose of CPZs in Barnet are to protect reside Residents and to ensure that they can freely park in their own streets,  then I actually do not see any reason why ALL CPZs should not work in the same way that I am proposing for the Saracens CPZ. 

By so doing, the Council will help keep the streets clear for the use of its own Residents and protect its Residents in the process by introducing the proposed amendment that will protect Residents and prevent them even further from being penalised for parking in their own streets.  

And by doing so, the Council would be doing nothing more than its duty to its Residents.

The Council asserts that if Residents make mistakes, they should be penalised and fined.

This kind of sanctimonious, self righteous and arrogant attitude has no place in our community and we Residents should not tolerate this kind of behaviour from any of our representatives.

However, for those who do indeed think that way and who manage our affairs in such a “live by the gun” manner , I would expect nothing less than for them to “die by the gun” too.  The list of mistakes and transgressions is too long and not the essence of this post, however the current bin collection fiasco comes immediately to mind.

My only question to them is if they would prefer to be fined personally, or should we just expect them to do the honourable thing and figuratively fall on their own sword.  A simple resignation would suffice in my mind and represent justice enough.

What is the Responsibility & Role of Saracens in this Matter?

As mentioned above, both the Council and the Saracens promised that Residents would not be inconvenienced by these match days.  And as mentioned above, this promise has not been fulfilled.  Too many Residents have, and continue to be financially penalised for parking in their own streets, despite this empty promise for no other reason than to facilitate and augment the profits of the Saracens.

From the many conversations I have had with Residents on this matter in the short time that I have been working on this petition, the resentment of Residents toward Saracens is clear and growing.

I have been told that that Saracens is not really keen to help and would prefer to pander to the will of the Council (its Landlord) but, as resentment continues to grow, political pressure will eventually take its toll on the long term future of the Saracens in our neighbourhood.  We have seen how the mighty Capita has been increasingly falling from grace over time and where this is all going to end.  Similarly, it’s just a matter of time before a similar fate and a resultant fall from grace could start to develop for the Saracens.  All contracts come to an end and need to be renegotiated and local support will continue to diminish over time if Residents continue to be penalised and fined in this manner.

For this reason, I think less of a “there is nothing we can to about it” approach and more of a proactive involvement to find a genuine and just resolution would better serve the long term interests of Saracens.

And to this end, I invite (urge) the Saracens to come forwards and talk to us and work much more closely with local Residents to persuade the Council that our amendment is a step in the right direction and should be supported and passed.

We would welcome any help that you would like to offer.

There are a number of ways for help and support this petition.

Add your Name to the Petition.
The simplest way to help is to add your name to this petition.  If you go to www.SarcensParkingPetition.co.uk  (it will direct you to the Barnet Council’s official Petition Website).   Please just add your name and help grow the numbers.

Volunteer to be a Street Ambassador
As you probably know your neighbours better than we do, and if you are gregarious by nature, please volunteer to be a Street Ambassador to canvass and collect signatures from your neighbours and from friends and family who live in Barnet.

Help with our Petition Table on the High Street
We are planning on having a Petition table on Mill Hill Broadway on certain Saturdays and Sundays to promote the petition to local shoppers and Residents.  So here again, if you are more of a people person and would like to engage with locals and talk to them about this petition, please let us know which date would suit you to volunteer at our table.

Flier Distribution
If you prefer something less people centric, or if you prefer to help while walking the dog, why not volunteer a few hours to help distribute fliers in your area.  This can be done at any time of day or night. 

Shop Owner?
If you own a shop (or work for one), you could help by agreeing to place one of our posters on the shop window and also place a pile of fliers on the sales counter for customers to pick up.

Blogger/PR Specialist
If you are a blogger with your own following, we would very much appreciate you writing a post about this issue to help spread the word.  Alternatively if you are good at getting press coverage, please help us get local and regional papers, radio, TV to cover this petition.

Anything you wish
If none of the above tickle your fancy but you have a better idea of your own, we are all ears!  Please come talk to us.

We, the parking penalty petition people, look forward to hearing from you.

Frank Orman
Frank Orman is a MilL Hill Resident. Guest blogs are always welcome at The Barnet Eye

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