Thursday, November 12, 2009

Parking tickets not valid

Basingstoke Gazette
By Patrick Knox

Tuesday 10th November 2009

DRIVERS were wrongly issued with fines after experimental parking controls were found not to be valid.

Motorists were issued with tickets, totalling £1,375, for parking in controlled areas in the Penrith Road area of Brookvale, Kings Furlong and North Whitchurch.
But officers in Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council introduced the controls under the wrong legislation – meaning they could not be lawfully enforced. So far, no driver hit by a fine has been reimbursed.

Councillor Clive Sanders, Cabinet member for community safety and development, made the disclosures after being quizzed by Whitchurch borough councillor Keith Watts at a full council meeting on the total value of the fines.

Cllr Sanders said: “The professional advice available was that there was a possibility that the orders could be flawed and it was inappropriate for the council’s enforcement officers to continue issuing the fixed penalty notices.”

Of the 53 penalty notices, Cllr Sanders said 27 have been paid with a total value of £950. But he added the council has not refunded those who had paid up because it did not have enough details and was not allowed to access the DVLA database to obtain vehicle owner details. Those who have not paid have had their fines cancelled, he said.

The controls, which came into force in March, included areas of no or restricted waiting, controlled parking zones and a residents’ parking scheme.
Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council introduced the restrictions as “experimental traffic regulations” in response to parking problems in the area.

But council lawyers spotted that fines could be challenged because the controls should be enacted under section 45 of the Road Traffic Act of 1984. Parking attendants enforcing the restriction were then told to stop issuing penalty notices on September 18.

Now the council is seeking to introduce a permanent traffic order in Brookvale and Kings Furlong, Whitchurch, and the Penrith Road area of Beggarwood.
Cllr Watts, who represents the Whitchurch ward, said afterwards: “Anyone who has paid a fine should be tracked down and refunded.”

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