Sunderland City Council's Parking Ticket 'High Noon'
1st October 2006 for 3rd October 2006
" Council uses bully boy tactics as Queen's Council instructed to defeat parking ticket campaigner"
Campaigner Neil Herron who has successfully exposed massive flaws in Sunderland City Council's Decriminalised Parking Enforcement (DPE) regime finally has the opportunity to air the matter at a public hearing.
For two years he has deliberately collected parking tickets in an attempt to expose the fact that Sunderland were acting unlawfully but the Council have always dropped the cases and cancelled the tickets afraid that the whole regime would be exposed.
The subject has been covered nationally by two Trevor McDonald 'tonight' specials.
Finally, a public hearing has been scheduled for 12.30pm on Tuesday October 3rd in Sunderland Central Library in Fawcett Street.
For the first time since the campaign began Herron's tickets (26 of them) will be heard at an appeal before National Parking Adjudication Service adjudicator Andrew Keenan. Normally, this informal tribunal would take 15 minutes, but a full day has been set aside to hear the appeal (To date Herron has had over 90 tickets cancelled).
What is unprecedented for a parking tribunal and quite staggering is the fact that Sunderland City Council have instructed Stephen Sauvain QC to handle the case. His daily brief fee is rumoured to be as high as £9,000.
No other local authority has ever taken such steps for a £60 parking ticket appeal.
The timing of the hearing is quite fortuitous as it comes the day after a BBC 'Inside Out' documentary exposes the relationship between Sunderland City Council and its DPE Enforcement Contractor NCP Ltd. The programme is expected to highlight many of the failings in the operation and implementation of the DPE scheme and will include witness testimony from former NCP / Sunderland Parking Attendants.
To date the campaign has forced the Council to refund over £60,000 to motorists wrongly fined and it is expected that this figure will rise dramatically after Tuesday's hearing.
Neil Herron states, " We offered to sit down with the Council to highlight the massive flaws in their regime but we were dismissed with a contemptuous arrogance.
We were forced to go public.
Investigations revealed not only that motorists were being fined unlawfully, but the Council knew about it and covered it up.
This is not the way for a local authority to behave.
As the result of a formal complaint an internal investigation has revealed hundreds of missing Traffic Orders, thousands of missing or incorrect signs and fundamental flaws in the paperwork (including 75,000 non-compliant parking tickets being issued). Hopefully the hearing on Tuesday will allow a full public airing of the errors that still exist in what has become the biggest parking shambles in the country.
Rather than putting their hands up and coming clean Sunderland is attempting to use bully-boy tactics by instructing Leading Counsel against a member of the public for a hearing which is billed by NPAS as an informal tribunal.
We can still remember a similar tactic being used against greengrocer, the late Steve Thoburn in the world famous metric case.
What must be remembered is that to get the authority from Parliament to begin DPE (which we see as nothing more than licensed highway robbery ... as it is driven by revenue generation rather than sensible parking enforcement) Sunderland claimed that all their signs, lines and traffic orders would be correct and in force by February 3rd 2003.
This was clearly false and the correction programme is till ongoing more than twelve months after the investigation into the implementation and operational failings commenced.
A challenge, which will have implications for every parking ticket issued in the country, is also to be made regarding the independence and impartiality of the National Parking Adjudication Service.
NPAS is funded by the local authorities participating in DPE. The 'independent' adjudicators are appointed by the Joint Committee which comprises members of the local authorities and Manchester City Council is the lead authority responsible for the contractual obligations of NPAS and the producing of the NPAS accounts. The challenge to the independence of the tribunal is to be made under Article 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights. "
The following are amongst witnesses to be called:
Bob Rayner, Council Solicitor
Phil Barrett, Director of Development and Regeneration
Earl Belshaw, Parking Services Manager
Cllr Joseph Lawson, NPAS Joint Committee Representative
Caroline Sheppard, Chief Adjudicator
Andrew Barfoot, Tribunal Manager
The outcome of the tribunal will not only have massive financial implications for Sunderland, it could create a domino effect threatening this £1.2bn a year industry.
0191 565 7143
SUNDERLAND CENTRAL LIBRARY
National Parking Adjudication Service
Sunderland City Council Parking Enforcement
Stephen Sauvain QC
Sunday, October 01, 2006
- ► 2011 (51)
- ► 2010 (174)
- ► 2009 (115)
- ► 2008 (179)
- ► 2007 (210)
- Burnley's Parkwise PCNs 'not compliant' NPAS rule
- Sunderland City Council's Coronation Street Imperi...
- EU Unfit for Purpose...
- Illegal Green Parking Fines
- NCP Cavalry on its way to Sunderland?
- Bagfull of Letters in the Sunderland Echo ... "Cle...
- NCP Parking Attendant Arrested
- Disappearing Sunderland Parking Ticket as major Ro...
- What Parking Problems?
- Councils 'turning parking into a money making exer...
- Parking Meltdown following Government Response to ...
- Leeds City Council Parking Regime ... Is it the ne...
- MPs Metric Speed Muddle ... Again
- A lesson to other Councils
- NCP and that Council Meeting last night
- Department for Transport Freedom of Information Re...
- More NCP Suspensions in Sunderland
- Should NCP Ltd run Sunderland's Parking regime?
- Popular blog in Sunderland Council offices
- New Speed Camera illegal? Bigger implications?
- New device to be used against motoring 'criminals'...
- Speed Scameras
- Is this the country you want your children to grow...
- As more local authorities are getting caught out w...
- New ITV 'Driving Me Crazy' Documentary
- Manchester City Council and the National Parking A...
- National Parking Adjudication Service 2006 Account...
- National Drivers Organisation to be launched soon
- Department for Transport anxiously watches Sunderl...
- Court adjourned for speeding cases
- High Wycombe Council in another fine mess
- Parking bosses meet Asian leaders
- PATAS faces another Bill of Rights Challenge
- Talks over city parking
- Leeds City Council Parking Problems
- Sunderland Parking Meltdown
- £3.5M parking fines may be written off
- PROBE INTO PARKING CONTRACT AFTER TV SHOCKER
- Two sets of parking rules for one street
- NCP deal to be reviewed
- TV probe into city parking
- Press Release: £1.2bn Parking Industry under threa...
- Is the National Parking Adjudication Service Indep...
- ▼ October (44)
- ► 2005 (445)