Sunday, October 05, 2008

The Controlled Parking Zones (CPZs) in Huddersfield and Dewsbury are seriously flawed states Government Official

Had a parking ticket in Huddersfield or Dewsbury?
Are more refunds on the way?

Parking problems ‘known years ago’
Aug 20 2008 by Nick Lavigueur,

Huddersfield Daily Examiner

KIRKLEES Council was told its parking zones were “seriously flawed” by the Government more than two years ago, it has emerged.

Following last month’s exposé of the Kirklees-wide parking problem a letter leaked to the Examiner shows the issue had already been highlighted by Government parking officials.

The letter, from an officer of The Government Office for Yorkshire and Humberside’s integrated parking team to the Department for Transport (DfT) in February, 2006, discussed the council’s bid to take control of parking enforcement.

It was sent to the council’s road chiefs, along with a batch of pictures of defective road markings and signs.

The letter says: “The controlled parking zones (CPZ) in Huddersfield and Dewsbury are seriously flawed. This is due to the use of entry signs that do not conform to diagram 663 of the regulations and have not been placed in the correct manner as only one has been used where are two are required.
“There are also uncontrolled lengths of carriageway within CPZs, which is not allowed.”

The letter goes on: “A large number of parking bays have been marked incorrectly ... double end lines have been used, which is not permitted.”

The letter also slams Kirklees’s pay and display signs, its disabled bays, dual-purpose bays, loading bays, drop-off areas and taxi ranks.

Kirklees, like hundreds of councils across England and Wales, was granted decriminalised parking enforcement powers by the DfT in July, 2006.

But the Examiner has now learned that neither the DfT nor the Local Government Authority have been monitoring the situation or have any duty to make sure the council plays by the rules.
In fact, it seems there is no authority monitoring the council’s parking enforcement as the Government Office, the British Parking Association and the National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) all said it wasn’t their job.

A spokeswoman for the Government Office said: “The Government Office can only advise transport authorities to use the correct signage as required by the regulations. We cannot force them to do so.
“The recourse for the public, if they believe they have received a parking ticket where the signing is defective, is to complain to the NPAS or, if they believe the council are not following correct procedures, they can complain to the Local Government Ombudsman, who will investigate claims of maladministration.”


A DfT spokesman said: “It is the responsibility of the council to place traffic signs and road markings in accordance with the regulations or apply to the department for special authorisation.
“Whether signs and lines are lawful are matters is for the courts or a parking adjudicator to determine.
“We are clear that councils need to make sure they operate reasonably and within the law. Every case is different, but we would expect councils to seriously consider contacting motorists who may have been wrongly issued with a penalty charge notice.”

This latest scandal comes after the Examiner printed a Kirklees list of almost 100 parking bays awaiting remedial work in order to comply with DfT rules.

Former Kirklees councillor Jeremy Fisher, who obtained the letters, said: “For them to say they didn’t know what was going on is tosh. We have got the evidence here in this letter.
“This proves that what Clr David Hall said is wrong; it shows they’ve known about it since February, 2006. All I would like to see is somebody made accountable."


Neil Herron, director of parkingappeals.co.uk, said: “The fact that there is no statutory body or watchdog has led to councils embarking on what is the biggest case of highway robbery since Dick Turpin rode Black Bess.
“The situation, because of the lack of scrutiny or censure, has led to the escalation of lawlessness by councils and officers who believe that they can act with impunity.
“The game is now up and it is only a matter of time before we see council officers in court and the initiation of a public inquiry into what has become a national scandal.
“I think there’s a lot of worried people at Kirklees Council as they’ve been caught red- handed.”

Kirklees’s assistant director for transport, Jacqui Gedman, said: “At a site meeting in March, 2006, which a Government Office official attended, detailed issues were discussed in relation to lines and signs.
“The council wrote to the DfT in April informing them of the March meeting and that the Government Office representative was satisfied that measures were well established to address the issues raised in relation to the controlled parking zones.
“The letter also gave the DfT assurances that where the council recognised there were non enforceable areas within the controlled parking zones, then these areas would not be enforced until remedial works had been completed. That remains the case.
“The council considered that the subsequent granting of enforcement powers on July 3 was an endorsement from the DfT that it and Government Office were satisfied with Kirklees’s approach.
“The council did follow the DfT's advice and did not knowingly enforce powers until such time as signing and lining was corrected.”

1 comment:

Trevor R Nunn said...

The LGO can only look at maladministration. That concerns the process of decision making. Although the council would technically be guilty of maladministration if they committed an illegal act all the Ombudsman do in a situation like this is to ignore the illegal act, on the grounds they can't determine anyone's civil rights. Once that's out of the way... What maladministration. A neat trick the LGO is often guilty of using.

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