If it were possible to make a shambolic situation even more shambolic.
As the parking situation gets worse in Sunderland the BBC crew are filling their boots with cracking footage.
NCP think we have a radio and so all communications are being conducted via PAs mobiles (they didn't believe that we could overhear them in the street! Perhaps it would have been cheaper to tell the new PAs to turn the volume down. It is amazing how many people are aware of our office and pass on information. Even information such as the two PAs who clocked off early at the beginning of the week in the Civic Car Park. A function in the Winter Gardens had meant some guests were none too pleased when they returned at 8.30pm to find their cars trashed. The Parking Attendants had left an hour early.
Yesterday we were filming in St. Thomas Street.
We were aware that NCP had stopped issuing in St. Thomas Street (noisy radios).
I rang Parking Services and Mr. Belshaw confirmed that there was a valid TRO and they had not stopped issuing.
We collected the TRO and it is a joke, crossing two main roads and including 'No Waiting at Any Time' 'Loading Bays' 'Parking Bays. Yellow lines simply stop abruptly and then continue without reference to the TRO.
The TRO simply refers to 'Restrictions 8am - 6pm'
NCP and the Council are confident that they are correct. So, I have parked there for two days and have yet to receive a ticket.
BBC filmed it yesterday. This is one of the most prolific streets in Sunderland. PAs reckon on 1500 tickets per annum. This would equate to nearly 5000 since the beginning of DPE. Even at £30 per ticket it is £150,000 that will have to be repaid.
However, that is the least of their worries. The TRO is contained in the City of Sunderland (South Sunderland) (Waiting / Loading and Parking) (Consolidation) Order 2001 and, as the legislation, The Local Authorities Traffic Orders (Procedure) (England and Wales) Regulations 1996 clearly states:
Traffic signs 18.—(1) Where an order relating to any road has been made, the order making authority shall take such steps as are necessary to secure—
(a) before the order comes into force, the placing on or near the road of such traffic signs in such positions as the order making authority may consider requisite for securing that adequate information as to the effect of the order is made available to persons using the road;
(b) the maintenance of such signs for so long as the order remains in force; and
(c) in a case where the order revokes, amends or alters the application of a previous order, the removal or replacement of existing traffic signs as the authority considers requisite to avoid confusion to road users by signs being left in the wrong positions.
If this Order is not 'in force' then all the other restrictions are not correct and every PCN has been issued illegally in this area.
Now come back to the application to the Department for Transport by the City of Sunderland and approved by the Secretary of State. They told him that all the lines, signs and TROs would be correct and in force by 3rd February 2003. All of these mistakes were pointed out in a report prepared by consultants in 2001 at a cost of £60,000. The council never acted on this report, such was their haste to implement the DPE cash cow.
It is only a matter of time.
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