From this week residents in Hammersmith and Fulham going through the miserable and expensive procedure of recovering their car after it has been towed away by the Council will no longer have to visit Barclay Road in Fulham – instead they must go to the Lots Road Car Pound, 63 Lots Road, London, SW10 0RN.
But is it really necessary for so many to have to make the journey. I think the Council are to quick to tow away vehicles. It should be a last resort. Someone who forgets to move their car on a Monday morning before 9am should get a ticket but not get towed away.
I have been sent a breakdown of the figures. The 754 people who cars were towed for being “parked in a restricted street during prescribed hours” (between April to September this year) probably feel the Council behaved disproportionately. It is reasonable to issue a ticket and charge them the £40 penalty charge. It is unreasonable to remove the car and charge an extra £200 to let them have it back.
Astonishingly this draconian policy is not actually a money spinner for the Council – due the cost of maintaining the “service”.
Here are the Council’s answers to my queries:
The revenue in the last 12 months from fines from motorists whose vehicles we have towed away.
The total income from removals between 1 October 2015 and 30 September 2016 was £435,065. This includes the PCN fee, removal fee and any storage fees.
The cost to the Council of towing away cars in the past 12 months.
Approximately £700,000. This includes the cost for the whole removal operation including pound administration.
How many cars have been towed away in the past 12 months.
We removed 1116 cars and relocated 2381.
Sometimes there will be abandoned vehicles – or vehicles parked in a way that causes real danger or genuinely serious obstruction. So sometimes they will need to to be towed away. What seems to me to be the case is that this should be scaled down to the minimum required. Absent minded motorists who are responsible for some minor technical infringement should not be fleeced and treated like criminals. Nor should Council Taxpayers face a bill of £265,00o a year – even after the revenue from these hefty penalties has been gathered in.
The current arrangements is needlessly misery inducing. It needs to be drastically curtailed.
Agreed. I have only been towed once, many years ago, but it was a nightmare in terms of costs (all in c£400) and hassle getting the car back. And just for a parking violation. Really cars should only be towed when they have obviously been abandoned or are causing an obstruction.
Finally, can we not use technology to alert a driver that his or her car is in danger of being towed? What about a text or email to contact details supplied to the DVLA? As you say, it is often just absent-mindedness or a simple mistake that gets punished disproportionately severely, thus breaking a fundamental principle of good justice.