The BBC has started filming a documentary based around the campaign and were with us for a few days last week and will be adding material over the coming months.
However, what they got last week was priceless and the word from inside NCP is that they are consulting their lawyers to prevent the programme being aired.
Foyle Street is one block away from our office. Regeneration works in West Sunniside has meant that the road was partially, and now fully closed. The yellow line restrictions are obliterated by the roadworks for 50% of their length.
It has also been disclosed to us by an NCP insider that even before the roadworks the yellow lines were so bad on the cobblestones that there had always been problems over enforcement. I had parked there on numerous occasions and not received a PCN but when parking 'another' car (mine is recognised by all PAs) I had been hit. The appeal went in and alerted the Council that something was afoot so they began issuing to my vehicle.
However, this suddenly stopped. I parked my vehicle as usual and returned some hours later with the TV Crew to show my car parked unticketed on double yellows. As luck would have it a PA passed as we were filming.
I asked why I was being treated as an exception. It was a new PA. She had obviously not seen the last eighteen months publicity.
"We have been told not to issue to that vehicle."
I asked for a supervisor.
NCP manager, Tony Cotesworth came round. All of this was caught on camera and he spoke freely for around twenty minutes fully aware that there was a camera recording him from six feet away.
He said, " We have been told by the Council not to enforce in this street because of the roadworks."
I pointed out that the roadworks had been there weeks and they had been issuing. We had made representation to the Council bringing it to their attention but they still continued targeting other vehicles. We had the evidence and the photographs.
The producer was quite amazed that we had caught all of this. He was further staggered when we caught more PAs on camera engaging with me in chat.
Catching the Council works van enjoying lunch in a disabled bay was sweet, as was catching the roadline marking vehicle dripping yellow paint from the latest batch of corrections (remember DPE powers were only granted to Sunderland because they told the Department for Transport and the Secretary of State that all their lines, signs and TROs were correct in their DPE application).
The next day I parked in the same location. Remember, I had been given express permission by a Senior NCP official that the restrictions were not in force.
I was issued a ticket!!!
The camera crew returned and recorded more evidence of what can only be described as entrapment. Add this to the fact that there is substantial evidence of PCNs being issued in areas where no TROs exist and money taken from motorists that the Council and NCP knew was unlawful was not repaid until we exposed it some two years later.
A telephone call to NCP brought a response from manager Kelvin Gilderoy that the Council had told him that the restrictions were in force. They have continued to ticket me on a daily basis ever since.
A letter came from NCP cancelling the PCN issued the day after the conversation with Mr. Cotesworth.
It stated, "As you believe that you have been misled..."
No worries Mr. Gilderoy...not only do 'I believe' but we also have it on camera!!!
Heard over their radio yesterday that NCP were to stop enforcing in St. Thomas Street. It appears that there are question marks over whether a valid TRO exists.
I parked there all day and did not receive a ticket in order to stand the story up. The word is that this is the most prolific street in the city. Could be thousands of PCNs issued in this one location. The press has the story.
Further trouble is that it is within the City of Sunderland(South) Consolidated Order which cannot come into force unless ALL the lines, signs and TROs are correct. Looks like another nail in the coffin of the Sunderland Parking corpse.
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