Thursday, January 26, 2006

Comments to the Sunderland Council Committee: Criminal Charges in the offing?

We have been given a copy of a submission by Captain D.W. Green who has over ten years worth of evidence on Sunderland City Council's failure to adhere to the legislation.
He also raises the point of a possible Data Protection breach with Herron being named in the report in a desultory manner!

Ged Fitzgerald
Ch. Executive
City of Sunderland

Reports to Joint Meeting of the Policy and Co-Ordination and Environmental and Planning Review Committees (26.01.06) and Cabinet Meeting (27.01.06)
CC:All members

Comments on the above
Ged Fitzgerald
Ch. Executive
And Elected members

Dear Sirs,

1. I received my copies of the above report at 1600hrs on Monday 23/1/06, whilst members received their copies by post next day,
2. This appears contrary to Sec. 100B of the Local Govt. Act 1972
Nevertheless elected members and the public have had only one ‘clear day’ to study the contents. This is a very important report which really requires more than the customary five clear days to appreciate its contents.
4. Members should be aware that there are 2 main issues in the report, one for the motorist (whom you represent) and secondly the enforcement
5. Motorists, they are given a ’ticket’ for “contravening a traffic order made under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984.
Enforcement, this previously was carried out under the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988, however under DPE it is enforced under the Road Traffic Act 1991. being a criminal or non-criminal offence respectively.
6. Traffic Orders: These are made strictly in accordance with regulations made by the Secretary of State and have been so for decades, so the procedure is well known. After the initial procedures have been carried out the order is ‘made’, however it is not in forc (i.e.unenforceable) until each and every item contained within the order has been suitably signed by a legal traffic sign (prescribed or authorized).
A public notice must be displayed stating that the order has been made and coming into force on a particular day (i.e. all necessary traffic signs will be displayed on that day) .
Thereafter, the local authority must maintain the signs for any individual item within an order to be in force where a road marking doesn’t meet the requirement as required by law the item within a particular traffic order is temporarily out of force, and a contravention cannot occur
Examples: a yellow line must be placed on the road exactly as prescribed in the regulations, noting the various tolerances (sometimes 5%, i.e. a 100mm width can be 95-105mm, such that a part worn line that doesn’t meet that requirement renders the whole length of the item in the order unenforceable. Whenever a yellow line passes over a drain cover in the gutter the yellow line it ceases to be ‘continuous’ (it should be squared off around the grating), wherever road works are carried out and sections of the line are missing, all these render the item in the order unenforceable. IN OTHER WORDS AN ENFORCEMENT NOTICE SHOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN ISSUED

7. The report makes reference to an alleged ‘Counsel’s Opinion’, yet no evidence has been produced as to what counsel was asked and what was his/her response, until that is made evident then the assistant treasurer is reliant upon hearsay, on November 11th 2004 The Government Office of the North East (GONE) sent an Email both to myself and Sunderland Council (Legal Services) stating quite clearly that CPZ signs needed an order, yet ‘ Counsel’ allegedly disputes officers of the Secretary of State, elsewhere there are numerous official advisory pamphlets from the DfT that state similar that a CPZ sign must be displayed only to convey to the public that an order has been made. It is essential that ‘counsel’s opinion’ and the question asked made available to the members and the public
8. Why has Neil Herron’s name been referred to in such a desultory manner? Such as in para 8.5 onwards. The Data Protection Act prevents this, that is why the officers who were culpable in this mess have not been named

9. Members should be made aware that they are responsible and Criminal charges may be in the offing, I would expect members to reject this report on the grounds that it is insufficient and too little time has been given to absorb the limited information given (which in itself is damning). Recently members will have noticed pages of amendments, council officers have been CORRECTING road markings lately (i.e. they were never right in the first place and many still aren’t)

10. Whilst motorist’s may appeal, how many know how to, it could cost £200 to seek legal advice (for a £30 ticket) this is non recoverable. Myself I have had 100% success in appealing for 6 motorists ( I did it for nothing, though each case took about 30hrs preparatory work) and for myself 4 cases upon which the council refuse to respond (contrary to the constitution. Apparently Parking Services are unaware that all correspondence should be answered in 5 working days and a further letter within 21 working days if the matter is going to take longer.

11. Yes clearly there is a major problem with senior management who do not know what is going on

Capt. D.W.Green

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