Monday, February 06, 2006

Sunderland City Council and those outstanding questions

This is an attempt to finally clear up all the issues and Freedom of Information requests that have been outstanding for some months.
The e-mail followed, within hours, the threat of a formal complaint to the Council.

I am grateful for all those within NCP and Sunderland City Council who have started passing on information. As you can see from the information below and most recent press reports, both bodies are intent on sweeping as much of this under the carpet as possible. However, there is always the X Factor ... something which they have not been prepared for.

The big question is still this ... "Is the Council going to refund the monies from tickets they knew to be illegal?"

This message is sent on behalf of Bob Rayner, City Solicitor ( and Phil Barrett, Director of Development and Regeneration (

Dear Mr Herron

Having reviewed our files on this matter, we wish to address a number of matters you have raised which you may consider to be outstanding and would respond to them as follows:

1. Consolidation Order
15 Traffic Regulation Orders (TRO) have been made which rectify inaccuracies in the 5 Consolidation Orders and discrepancies between Orders and signing. It is anticipated that a new Consolidation Order will be made in due course.

2. Secretary of State Intervention
Unless or until there is a successful challenge to the Order made by the Secretary of State, the Council must assume that the decriminalised parking enforcement regime is lawful. The Council is taking steps to remedy any deficiencies in the scheme not to seek its revocation.

3. Cycletracks
Section 21 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 makes it an offence to drive or park a mechanically propelled vehicle wholly or partly on a cycletrack. Cycletracks are defined by reference to the Highways Act 1980. Under the DPE system, certain criminal offences are no longer to apply. The Road Traffic Act 1991 disapplies Section 21 of the 1988 Act so far as it makes it an offence to park on a cycletrack within a special parking area. Instead, a penalty charge is payable under the DPE regime.
Counsel has confirmed that there is no requirement for a TRO where, as here, the Council has created the cycletracks under Section 65 of the 1980 Act.

4. Blue Badge Holders
National Car Parks Ltd (NCP) Parking Attendants keep records in their pocket books of all Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) including those issued to blue badge holders. Not every PCN is photographically recorded however the vast majority are.
NCP was instructed to examine all photographic records and cross reference them with pocket book data. This work was done during September 2005.
In addition the Council published a telephone number for blue badge holders to contact the Council if they feel they may be entitled to a refund for parking in a loading bay.

5. Lower Promenade and Marine Walk
In Autumn 2003 the Council stopped issuing PCNs on the Lower Promenade due to uncertainty over the existence of a Traffic Regulation Order. Checking records has revealed that an Order is in place at this location.
To date a total of 362 PCNs have been issued at this location and 93 PCNs at Marine Walk. Because these Orders are enforceable there has been no offer of making any refunds.

I confirm that Paul Davies, the Assistant City Treasurer (Audit and Procurement) has been made aware of your interest in this matter and of the above information.
I hope this is satisfactory.
If, however, you are dissatisfied with our response to your request for information, you can ask for a review under the Council's Customer Services Procedure.
You can do this by contacting the Assistant Performance and Development Manager, Development and Regeneration, PO Box 102, Civic Centre, Sunderland SR2 7DN.

Yours sincerely

Bob Rayner, City Solicitor
Phil Barrett, Director of Development and Regeneration

Sunderland City Council accept no liability for and shall not be legally bound by the contents of this E-Mail. No assurances are givenas to the authority of the sender to act on its behalf.Please note that the content of e-mail sent and received may information.

Find out more about e-Government within the City of Sunderland by visiting....Our new citizen-centric web site with online payments : the City of Sunderland story so far :

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