Monday, August 15, 2005
Parking Tickets Could be Illegal
The following story made front page of Saturday's Newcastle Journal. The implications are enormous. Sunderland City Council have created a parking regime for the city centre without legislative authority. This means that NCP are enforcing a regime and issuing tickets unlawfully. The Council's accounts cannot be signed off if there are unlawful items of income, and the District Auditor will be forced to investigate.
Traders in the city whose businesses have been seriously affected by the Draconian enforcement regime may have a case for a class action, or could withold their business rates. This could be replicated across the country.
What we are witnessing with all of these de-criminalised regimes is the arrogance of office and a regime created simply to raise revenue...most of which goes as profit for private companies. Revenue is not reinvested in the towns and cities to create more, or upgrade parking facilities.
This is the beginning of the people fighting back.
PARKING TICKETS 'COULD BE ILLEGAL'
Campaigner says he has found a loophole
By Ross Smith
PARKING tickets issued in the North's biggest city could be illegal,
according to investigations by a prominent political campaigner.
Activist Neil Herron believes he has found a loophole which will invalidate
all fines in Sunderland city centre.
He is gambling more than £1,000 of his own money to prove his case, by
refusing to pay for 27 tickets dating back to March. It could mean that
parking tickets dating back as far as 2003 in the city are illegal.
Mr Herron came across the potential anomaly in the city's parking regime
while investigating the judgment against him in the Metric Martyrs case.
Sunderland Council has set up a Controlled Parking Zone (CPZ) around the
city centre. It means road signs are placed on the perimeter warning
motorists they are entering the zone, and explaining the waiting
restrictions within it.
But the council has never put in place a Controlled Parking Zone Order to
enact the zone - which Mr Herron believes renders it, and all parking
tickets within it, invalid.
The council insists that is not the case, and that other legal orders make
the zone effective.
A letter to Mr Herron from Sunderland City solicitor Bob Rayner said: "Your
premise that there should have been an order declaring a CPZ is incorrect."
But the Department for Transport last night appeared to contradict Mr
A spokeswoman told The Journal: "We wouldn't comment on an individual case.
Parking restrictions are a matter for local authorities.
"But the general policy is that to introduce a Controlled Parking Zone,
local authorities need a Controlled Parking Zone Order, as set out in the
Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984."
Mr Herron said: "I'm not going to pay the fines because I do believe
Sunderland Council haven't got the necessary traffic regulations in place
to implement its regime.
"If they're that confident of the ground they're on, then I invite them to
come after me.
"But I have 27 tickets and haven't heard from them yet."
A Sunderland Council spokesman said: "Waiting restrictions are introduced
with powers contained within the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. A
restricted area is commonly known as a Controlled Parking Zone. This,
however, is an engineering, not legal term and describes an area in which
all roads are subject to waiting restrictions introduced by various traffic
regulation orders in the interests of road safety and reducing congestion."
'Martyr' who found a new cause
By Ross Smith
NEIL Herron began campaigning against car park tickets as a result of the
judgment in the so-called Metric Martyrs case, in which he and a group of
Sunderland traders were prosecuted for using imperial weights and measures.
The ruling said that certain acts of Parliament - including the 1689 Bill
of Rights -had primacy over other legislation, unless its measures were
The Bill of Rights says citizens cannot be fined without being convicted -
but parking fines administered by councils offer no option to go to court.
Mr Herron began collecting parking tickets in a bid to prove his case.
It was during the course of his investigations that Mr Herron found that a
specific CPZ Order was not in place in Sunderland.
The zone covers an area from Silksworth Road in the north-west of the city
centre, to Sans Street in the north-east, West Lawrence Street in the
south-east and the Park Lane interchange in the south-west.
Signs explaining to motorists that they are entering a CPZ and that waiting
is prohibited between 8am and 6pm on Mondays to Saturdays are displayed on
The council says it has linked various localised parking regulations
through a consolidated order, made in 2003. But Mr Herron claims that,
without a specific order declaring a CPZ, individual signs must be placed
on each street where there are parking restrictions. Without them, fines
are not valid, he believes.
Regional Affairs Correspondent
Posted by Neil Herron at 11:34 am
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