Wednesday, June 11, 2008

'Fanfare for the common man' ... victory in Sheffield

Tramgate fines to be repaid

Sheffield Star
11 June 2008
By Tony Belshaw

Thumbs-up: Alan Bangert, right, celebrates his successful fight for a refund with Neil Herron Picture: Michael Waistell

THOUSANDS of drivers caught travelling through Hillsborough tramgates are to have their fines repaid.

More than 13,000 drivers could be refunded - meaning the council must hand back hundreds of thousands of pounds.

The council backed down in the face of a legal challenge and the move could set a precedent for local authorities across the country, possibly leading to millions being paid back in unjustly levied fines.

The huge U-turn came after Alan Bangert, of Wisewood, threatened to take the council to the High Court. Last month he won an appeal against his fines when the National Parking Appeals Service ruled warnings on Middlewood Road and Langsett Road were inadequate.

It told Sheffield highways bosses to stop fining motorists who drive through the tramgates until the signs were changed. But the council refused to pay back Alan the £30 they fined him after he was snapped going through the tramgates shortly after enforcement began last year. Council chiefs also told the 13,353 drivers fined at Hillsborough tramgates since July last year they would be keeping the £350,000 in fines.

Furious Alan hired experts from who began preparing a legal challenge. Neil Herron, managing director of, said:
"We approached the council and told them we were going to take them to court. They were told their signs weren't correct, yet they were still keeping the money."
That wouldn't stand up in a kangaroo court, never mind a court of law. We hope the council will now do the decent thing and repay their unlawfully derived income."

Mr Herron warned council chiefs he would take a two-pronged action against the authority unless it coughed up.

He threatened to take the council to court, and challenge its accounts through the District Auditor for containing unlawfully derived cash.

Married dad-of-three Alan, 43, said his mammoth fight to get back his money was worth it, and he would be donating the sum to the Bluebell Wood Hospice Appeal.

He said: "I am glad common sense seems to have prevailed and justice is seen to have been done."

Council leader Coun Paul Scriven insisted the decision had been in the pipeline - and hadn't been influenced by the threat of a legal appeal.
He said: "I have been listening to motorists from across the city and have heard their concerns. If drivers feel their fine was unfair then they can contact Parking Services and we will refund their fine."
I want common sense to prevail here. An independent adjudicator has reviewed seven appeals and felt the signs may not be as clear as they could be.''

He added refunds would relate to the Middlewood Road and Langsett Road end of the tram/bus gate - but not to fines for the Holme Lane bus lane.Enforcement at Hillsborough busgate should begin again in the next few months, once changes have been made to the signs.

Press Association Report here

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your support Neil (and Ollie). If it wasnt for you, we would be still battling on.

You did a stirling job!! Cheers

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