Monday, March 26, 2007

Your vote is required in EU poll

BBC News

Has the EU been a success?


7595 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Effort needed to change this result

Click here

Friday, March 16, 2007

All-day parking for the price of a cuppa

...or less.
When I went to buy a coffee in the cinema they just stamped the ticket and said I didn't even need to buy anything ... but I didn't want to take advantage ;-)
So, for a couple of quid you have 24 hour parking.

One must question, again, the competence of the Council's legal department in allowing such a blunder. rather than 'cheeky motorists' the byline should be 'crassly incompetent council strickes again.'

Sunderland Echo
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
by Marissa Carruthers

Cheeky motorists are leaving their vehicles in a cash-strapped car park all day - and paying just the price of a cup of tea.
The Echo revealed how the £5million Sunniside multi-storey car park in the city centre cost twice as much to run it as it makes in ticket charges, losing more then £208,000 since opening.
But city centre workers who should be forking out up to £6 a day to park there are exploiting a discount deal set up to attract customers to bars and restaurants around the car park.
Visitors to businesses in the Limelight development, such as Frankie and Benny's and Nando's, can buy any item and get 24-hour parking for free if they get their ticket stamped.
So brazen motorists are buying a cuppa, for as little as £1.30, during a break from work and driving off from the car park without having to pay a fee - saving themselves £17.50 a week if they leave their vehicle there from 9am to 5pm.
Coun Bryn Sidaway, leader of the Independents, said: "People would be fools to not take advantage of this. Until the circumstances change this is going to continue and customers will continue to park there for free.
"And everybody has already paid for this through the sheer cost of the car park.
"I think it's a disgrace that the council spent more than £5million on a brand new car park and are incapable of generating the means to pay that money back."
Sunniside car park was branded a "money pit" by Tory leader Lee Martin after the Echo revealed it has brought in £192,513 during the past two years. Sunderland Council has paid £401,000 to NCP, which manages it, resulting in losses of £208,487.
But while council chiefs defended the cash-strapped car park, claiming it was still "establishing" itself, one nearby worker said she was not surprised to hear the multi-story was working at a major loss.
She claims many city centre workers are taking advantage of a deal between the multi-storey and customers of Sunniside's Limelight development, which includes the multiplex cinema, Gala Casino, Frankie and Benny's and Nando's.
The worker, who does not want to be named, said she knows of many people abusing the system.
The woman, who works near the car park, said: I had to smile to myself when I read the Echo. There are lots of businesses around that car park and I know for a fact their staff use that car park for between eight and 10 hours a day for free.
"They just pop into Nando's or Frankie and Benny's and get a drink and their tickets stamped so they get free parking for the whole day. It came as no surprise to me at all when I read the car park makes a loss. I work in a massive office and there are a number of people who I know for a fact do this. They go for a coffee in their break and get their ticket validated.
"I've reported the matter to the council on numerous occasions, but they don't seem to be doing anything."
A council spokesman said: "If any abuse of the system is reported to Sunderland City Council the city council will look into it."

  • Parking at Sunniside costs 60p per hour from 8am to 6pm, 30p an hour from 6pm to 8am, and 30p an hour on Sundays up to a maximum of £1. Limelight customers are entitled to free parking if they get their tickets validated.

Echo reporter Marissa Carruthers put the parking claims to the test

Finding a parking place in any city centre is fairly difficult.
And usually finding one where you can leave your car all day safely for less than a couple of quid is even harder.
But Sunderland City Council's £5million Sunniside car park provides motorists with all of these factors.
Unable to believe that for the price of a cuppa I could leave my car in the swish new multi-storey car park for up to 24 hours, I decided to put it to the test.
And sure enough it is true.
I got a ticket, parked my car, wandered into Frankie and Benny's for a mid-morning pot of tea, costing £1.30, got my ticket validated and thought about hitting the shops for a few hours of hardcore shopping.
Unfortunately, I had to head back to the office, but if I was a Sunniside worker I could have saved myself £3.50 in just one day.
That's a staggering saving of £17.50 a week for a worker using the car park from 9am to 5pm.
It's no wonder so many chancers are playing their luck by parking there.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Threats by TV Licensing

Just built a couple of flats and have been receiving seriously threatening letters from TV LIcensing with an offensive, intimidatory tone.
I will report on developments.

39A & 39B The Westlands

FAO Richard Goodbody
Head of Licensing Enforcement
TV Licensing
BS98 1TL

14th March 2007

Dear Mr Goodbody

Despite a call to your 0870 number, I continue to receive threatening letters from yourselves.

Therefore, as I have replied to you, and requested the attendance of one of your authorised officers at a mutually convenient time in order to be interviewed in compliance with the Police & Criminal Evidence Act 1984, I consider any further intimidatory letters or implied threats as harassment.

Could you please arrange for an interview, as you have threatened, forthwith.
I feel it is my duty to inform you that I take your threats very seriously, and, despite my communications with yourselves, you do not appear to be exercising the same.

Please consider this letter in regard to both 39a and 39b The Westlands.

Please place on record that I welcome any court appearances, where I intend to introduce evidence of breaches of the Royal Charter and an inherent bias on EU related matters.

I look forward to your response.

Yours sincerely

Neil Herron

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Comment on Eric Brittain's letter regarding Sunderland's Chief Executive

The Letters Editor
Newcastle Journal

Dear Sir / Madam

Re: Statement of Chief Executive Quesioned (Eric Brittain Letters 8th March 2007)

In his series of letters, and misleading response from Sunderland City Council Chief Executive, Ged Fitzgerald, Eric Brittain exposes what appears to be a whitewash by the Local Government Ombudsman regarding the allegation of maladministration.

No maladministration?

Sunderland City Council issued 75,000 Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) which did not comply with the legal requirements ie. they did not contain a date of issue as well as the date of contravention. In the High Court case on the same point involving Barnet Council in August 2006 the Judge stated that: 'no financial liability arises from a non-compliant PCN.'
However, Sunderland were aware that their PCNs were non-compliant in May 2005 after receiving 'advice' from the National Parking Adjudication Service. The Assistant City Solicitor's advice in June 2005, quite obviously aware of the consequences of issuing unlawful tickets, was to 'change the wording without delay.'

This wasn't done until some 6 months later!

Over 12,000 PCNs were issed AFTER that legal instruction.

Why hasn't everyone been refunded?

If the Ombudsman had investigated correctly, and she was aware of the Judicial Review and Judge's comments, then that should have been the conclusion ... maladministration. Everyone would then be able to claim a refund.

So why the whitewash?

Surely justice, fairness and transparency is more important than the financial consequences of Sunderland having to repay all the non-compliant PCNs?

We would assume that the Ombudsman would be beyond reproach.

However, Anne Seex, the Local Government Ombudsman who brough Eric's case to an abrupt conclusion finding 'no maladministration' is the same Anne Seex who was Chief Executive of Norwich City Council in 2002 when they began Decriminalised Parking Enforcement?
This is the same Anne Seex who was in post as Chief Executive of Norwich City Council when they issued over 140,000 non-compliant PCNs between 2002 and 2005 (they only corrected theirs in August 2006 issuing £3,416,452.98 worth of non-compliant PCNs 2002 - 2006).

In March 2006, the Audit Commission published a highly critical audit letter for Norwich City Council during Mrs Seex' last year as Chief Executive leading to questions about her credibility as an independent and final arbiter on matters of maladministration in local government.

Now you have the facts ... do you think it was a whitewash?

Yours faithfully,

Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street

Tel. 0191 565 7143


Local Government Ombudsman
Anne Seex (Chief Executive of Norwich City Council 2000-2005) handles complaints from Birmingham City, Solihull, Cheshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Lincolnshire, Warwickshire and the North of England.
In March 2006, the Audit Commission published a highly critical audit letter for Norwich City Council during Mrs Seex' last year as Chief Executive [25], leading to questions about her credibility as an independent and final arbiter on matters of maladministration in local government. Amongst other things it criticises "poor financial controls" and "lack of progress in putting in place improvements identified in previous audits". As an LGO Anne Seex has recently advocated "creative compensation", including awarding a holiday for the living and a tombstone for the dead[26].
FoI Response from Norwich City Council (15.09.06) ... PCN amendment date.
FoI Response from Norwich City Council (30.10.06) ... DPE Revenue up to amendment date.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

'A Law Unto Themselves'

Sky News
Updated: 09:56, Monday March 05, 2007

Bailiffs could soon be breaking into homes to seize goods for credit card debts without a court order.
A new law will leave vulnerable people at risk from 'rogue enforcers', according to Citizens Advice.
The charity has revealed nearly two thirds of bailiffs are guilty of harassment or intimidation, while 40% misrepresent their powers of entry.
Under the Tribunals, Courts and Enforcement Bill, which is being debated in the House of Commons, all bailiffs will be given the power to enter domestic premises and enforce consumer credit debts, including credit card bills.
At present, only certain enforcement officers - notably those enforcing magistrates court fines - have these powers.
And bailiffs can only break in to homes if they have a court order.
David Harker, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said: "Our evidence over many years shows that bailiffs have an appalling track record of abusing their existing powers against vulnerable people.
"They are often abusive and aggressive and use threats of violence and prison to pressurise people into paying lump sums they cannot afford."
The charity is also pressing for independent regulation of bailiffs to be included in the proposed legislation.
Citizens Advice said evidence from its network of bureaux revealed that many private debt enforcers act almost as a law unto themselves.
Checks on 500 bailiff cases revealed intimidation, harassment and excessive fee-charging were commonplace.
Citizens Advice is calling on the Government to include in the Bill clear safeguards to ensure that forced entry is only used as a last resort.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007


By David Pilditch

A proposed new law that could see the UK’s Union Flag replaced by the EU banner was bitterly condemned yesterday.
Angry MPs and campaigners said the plan is the latest stealth attack on our treasured national emblem.
The row erupted after it was revealed that a bill going through Parliament proposes giving the EU banner the same status as the Union Flag.
If the legislation succeeds it will effectively mean the European Union flag – a circle of 12 yellow stars on a blue background – being designated a national symbol.
Plans to raise the profile of the unpopular European flag were first proposed by John Prescott. The Deputy Prime Minister wanted to introduce a new law after council buildings across the country were forced to take down the banner.
Opponents of the EU had pointed out that public buildings need planning permission to fly the EU flag because under current rules it is technically classified as an advertisement.
Only national flags including the Cross of St George, the Scottish Saltire and the Union Flag do not need planning permission.
Now campaigners – who insist the Government is “hell-bent” on surrendering to Brussels – say the unpopular plan is being pushed through by the back door.
Neil Herron, of the anti-Europe group Speakout, said: “Our campaign successfully forced the removal of the EU flag from a number of public buildings across the country.
“Now it appears the Government is attempting to introduce legislation through the back door. This is the thin end of the wedge. If it succeeds our Union Flag will be under threat.”
The move to raise the status of the European flag comes in proposed legislation aimed at raising public awareness of EU institutions.
But the European Union (Information) Bill includes a clause that would allow the European flag to be flown from public buildings.
The private member’s bill – backed by Labour peers – has been through two readings unopposed and last week reached the committee stage.
Tory MP Philip Davies said: “This is the latest in a long line of attempts to try to make us feel European by stealth.
“If this is part of some grand plan to make everyone feel European, I think it’s a pretty disreputable idea.”
The plan emerged as concerns were raised over moves by Brussels bureaucrats to force Britain’s merchant navy fleet to fly the European flag instead of the historic Red Ensign.
Shadow Transport Minister Julian Brazier warned in the Commons yesterday that plans for an EU coastguard agency could eventually lead to “the first nail in the coffin of the Red Ensign”.
But a spokesman for the Department for Transport said Mr Brazier’s claim had “no foundation whatsoever”.

Parking Ticket Cover Up ... why wasn't it reported in the Sunderland Echo?

It beggars belief that this story which potentially affects every Sunderland motorist was 'pulled' from the Sunderland issue of the Echo.
It only ran in the County Durham edition.

Sunderland residents and ratepayers are already questioning the Echo's motives on this and a number of other issues, and why is it that we have to read Newcastle newspapers to find out what really goes on in this City.

We will keep our powder dry for the time being ... I am sure that there is more to come on why the Echo fails to be a beacon newspaper for Johnstone Press. It is quite embarassing sometimes picking up the Echo ... with not enough pages of news to even cover the bottom of a bird cage adequately for a budgie with diarrhoea.

It galls me to see the Newcastle Chronicle putting our local paper to shame.

However, as the parking regime is on the verge of collapse let us hope that the Echo reports the next series of events.
After all, the fact that the Echo has taken another big chunk of money from the Council for another page and a half of corrected Traffic Orders does mean that the continued parking shambles is good for somebody's business.

Quite funny that the Traffic Order corrections detailed in the Echo are in the same locations as all the appeals which I 'lost' because the Adjudicator, Andrew Keenan, said that 'all the lines and signs were correct.'
Do we really need an investigative journalist to work that one out?
Chipper could probably solve the mystery.

Looks like a rocky ride for Sunderland City Council and the National Parking Adjudication Service as their refusal to grant me a review of the decision and dismissal of my evidence gets ready for Judicial Review.

Imagine this in the High Court ...

- In relation to Mr. Herron's parking tickets ... Can we call the first witnesses ... the Parking Attendants who issued the PCNs?

- sorry M'Lud. They have been sacked according to NCP, for amongst other things falsifying records, wrongly issuing tickets and bringing the Council and NCP into disrepute.

- can Sunderland explain why the Notice to Owners have been altered since Mr. Herron's case? To remove the word 'offence' M'Lud and make them 'more correct.'

- The adjudicator stated in his decision that 'all the lines and signs in the City were correct.' He found in favour of the Council. Can we call the Highways Officers from the Council responsible for measuring the inaccuracies in the TROs and highlight the whereabouts of the 260 sign, line and TRO errors, and introduce the Sunderland Echo ... and the page and a half of corrected TROs.

- Can we call Chief Adjudicator Caroline Sheppard and Tribunal Manager Mr. Barfoot ... on why they though Mr. Herron was 'mad, mad mad' in their conversation inadvertantly overheard and recorded by Mr. Herron?

- can we confirm how many of Mr. Herron's Parking tickets (prior to these 24 being appealed) have been cancelled and why?
Over a hundred ... because we got the PCNs wrong, we got the TROs wrong, because we got the Notice of Rejection wrong, because we got the signs wrong.

With national TV documentary crews champing at the bit this is going to be a Court Case to savour.

NB. ... note the comments at the bottom of the article of Signs expert Richard Bentley.

Sunderland Echo
City Urged to Repay Fines
Tuesday, February 06th 2007
By Marissa Carruthers

Thousands of motorists have been putting cash into parking meters when they didn't have to, a campaigner claimed today.
Parking protester Neil Herron is demanding Sunderland City Council stump up the hundreds of thousands of pounds it has dished out in "illegal" fines and charges,
Mr Herron had two parking tickets overturned after he appealed against 26 tickets which he deliberately collected at West Frederick Street.
He argued that the tickets are unlawful as there were two parking orders imposed - one saying "no waiting" and the other making a provision for parking bays.
The council is now offering free parking at the 13 bays and has closed off the pay-and-display facilities until it corrects the order. It will also cancel any outstanding parking fines and contact any affected motorists.
A spokesperson added that the authority did not plan to reimburse drivers unless they appealed against their ticket.
Mr Herron is now urging motorists issued with a ticket at that spot to contact the council for a refund.
He added: "Every single ticket issued in Frederick Street should be refunded and all the money put in the machines, too.
"They can't pay the money back unless they can identify the drivers. Because they can't identify every driver they will have to give every penny to charity.
"This could be a big charity windfall because because they have no legal authority to charge for pay-and-display there."
Mr Herron said this would amount to more than £130,000 as it costs 15p for half-an-hour at each of the road's 13 bays from 8am to 6pm. They were established in 2003.
A council spokesman said: "The council was unsuccessful in respect of two penalty charge notices relating to 13 pay-and-display parking bays in West Frederick Street adjacent to two disabled bays.
"The council will look at its position regarding refunds relating to the disabled bays, as they had lapping traffic orders (TRO), and if necessary will contact any individuals concerned.
"It does not consider refunds are appropriate where motorists would not have been misled by the signs in place and no appeals have been made."

But Richard Bentley, expert witness on parking regulations, has backed Mr Herron, saying that if the TROs were wrong in one case they are wrong in them all and a full refund should be given to everyone.
He said: "A TRO is a signed and sealed legal document. If there is something wrong with it then it is unlawful, and it is unlawful from the day it is written, not the day the fault was discovered.
"If the council does not backdate to 2003 and holds onto the money, they may commit an offence and could face a term in prison and an unlimited fine."

Off the hook ... Joan Ryan and the Home Office again

Ten years of Home Office blunders over foreign prisoners scandal, warnings unheeded, a major inquiry, yet ministers and even civil servants are all...

Daily Mail
Saturday March 3, 2007
by Matthew Hickley and James Slack

The official inquiry into the foreign convictions scandal was dismissed as a 'crude whitewash' last night after it cleared ministers of blame and the officials said to be responsible also avoided discipline.
The internal Home Office investigation reveals that police chiefs bluntly warned junior minister Joan Ryan of the problem in a letter last October.
She was told the UK authorities were 'completely unaware' that dozens of British rapists, paedophiles and killers with convictions for horrifying crimes abroad were now at large, with their details missing from police databases and the Sex Offender Register.
The alarming letter explicitly recommended briefing the Home Secretary -yet despite the glaring risks to the public Miss Ryan took two months to send a vague response, failed to mention the issue to John Reid and took no further action.
The scandal erupted on January 9 when police chiefs went public - revealing that more than ten years of astonishing official blunders had left 27,000 files detailing convictions of UK citizens abroad to gather dust in the Home Office. Ministers insisted they had known nothing about the fiasco until that day, even when the existance of the ACPO letter emerged.
The official inquiry into the debacle - carried out by the Home Office's head of human resources Dusty Amroliwala - manages to avoid criticising any minister and instead blames failings by unnamed junior officials spread over many years.
Nobody will be disciplined following yesterday's findings, Whitehall sources confirmed last night, even though scores of criminals returned from abroad and committed more crimes while the police and courts had no knowledge of their past records.
Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said the inquiry was a charade and accused Miss Ryan of 'staggering complacency, bordering on recklessness', He said: "The public will be astounded at her complacent approach to such a vital issue of public safety."
He said Mr Amroliwala, who works for the ministers at the centre of the scandal, lacked independence and authority.
Mr Davis added: "ACPO made ministers aware of the seriousness of the problem and warned that this was something the Home Secretary should address but they continued to ignore the serious risk to public safety."
Shadow immigration minister Damian Green said: "The way ministers have tried to evade responsibility for the whole shambles reveals a cancer at the heart of the government. Ministers take the salaries. They get driven around in the cars. They have to take the responsibility when things go wrong."
The official report fails to address the question of why ministers ignored the warnings from police chiefs that large numbers of dangerous murderers, rapists and paedophile abuse were at large in the UK, with nothing to stop them getting jobs working with children because their details were missing from the databases.
The problems were set out in a letter from Adrian McAllister of the Association of Chief Police Officers, dated October 3, 2006. It was sent to Police Minister Tony McNulty, but passed on to his junior colleague Miss Ryan without even being read.
It highlighted 27 rapists convicted in Germany alone, some for paedophillic abuse, adding: 'I recognise you may feel this is something the Home Secretary would wish to be briefed about given the obvious links to foreign national prisoners.'
But, incredibly the letter appears not to have rung any alarm bells with Joan Ryan or her officials. She admitted to the inquiry that she had 'intended to mention the issue to the Home Secretary' but decided to wait until more details were available.
The report paints a sorry picture of years of poor management and incompetence within the Home Office but fails to single out any named individual.
The risk is enormous, warned police
The release of Home Office e-mails shows how the Association of Chief Police Officers bluntly warned civil servants about the 'enormous risk' posed by the criminal records scandal.
They also reveal the shocking list of crimes committed by those involved.
They include 11 killers, eight convicted of attempted murder, 27 rapists, 48 sex attackers - mainly paedophiles - and even three terrorists. One criminal was involved in the arms trade. By October last year, Home Office officials were also aware that at least a fifth of the 525 most serious convicts had re-offended back in Britain.
Asked to assess the 'level of risk' presented by the failure to update the Police National Computer, an unnamed ACPO official writes: "The potential risk is enormous. We have indentified to date 27 rapes and 47 serious sex abuse cases - 50 per cent on children - committed by UK nationals over the past seven years.
"Most offenders are not on the Police National Computer and therefore not on the Sex Offender Register."
The e-mail makes it plain that ACPO is struggling with the mountain of 27,500 cases and needs more resources - at the time, there were only three staff involved.
But, incredibly, this request for extra cash was not even passed on to ministers. Instead, it was turned down flat. At the time the scandal became public, in January this year, there were still only three staff trying to wade through the backlog.

So politicians are in the clear. It wasn't their fault. Blame lies with lowly junior officials (though despite John Reid's promise that heads would roll, nobody has been sacked).
Yet again, New Labour shows its utter contempt for the public's intelligence. This shoddy charade of a report isn't simply a whitewash. It is a travesty.
Ministers were warned in explicit terms that dozens of British rapists, paedophiles and killers convicted abroad were returning to this country without the details of their crimes being registered here.
So what did they do? Precisely nothing. Home Office Minister Joan Ryan just sat on the letter from police chiefs, didn't bother to tell her boss, John Reid, took no action to protect public safety and then led the pretence that Ministers didn't know what was going on.
Whether or not she actually lied may be open to debate. But of her complacency and gross incompetence there is no doubt at all. The Home Office isn't fit for purpose - and neither are its ministers.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Parking Meter Cover Up in Sunderland

No sooner had the letter gone off to the Chief Executive (copied in to the investigating officers of Northumbria Police) with regard to unlawfully obtaining monies for pay and display tickets in Frederick Street and issuing Penalty Charge Notices to vehicles despite their being no valid or legal Traffic Order ... the cover up happened.
Have you had a PCN in Frederick Street?
Want your money back?
Paid for pay and display in the last twelve months?
Want your money back ... all of it?
Then watch this space. We have a team of lawyers coming up to Sunderland next week to take a sample of cases on.
Meanwhile, it's free parking in the pay and display bays in Frederick Street. Good news travels fast ... I now cannot get parked outside my office!

Road toll lite backlash

Daily Mail
Saturday, March 3, 2007
By James Chapman
Deputy Political Editor

Labour snubs protests to press on with pricing plans
A proposed 'lite' version of the Government's contraversial road pricing scheme has prompted a furious reaction.
Under the plans unveiled yesterday, Britain will be divided into a patchwork of road pricing zones, with motorists paying up to £1.50 a mile to drive in city centres.
But experts dismissed the idea as 'nonsense' and claimed Labour had ignored the objections of 1.8million Britons who signed a petition against road pricing.
Roads Minister Stephen Ladyman said the scheme would allay the concerns of drivers who object to being tracked by a satellite positioning device in their car.
Instead, cameras would record which zones drivers passed into at all times - as happens with London's £8-a-day congestion charge.
The charges under consideration are 2p a mile in rural areas, between 4p and 9p a mile in outer suburbs, between 14p and 86p in inner suburbs and £1.50 a mile in the most congested city centres.
Critics said it was clear ministers had failed to understand the depth of opposition to their plans.
Tory transport spokesman Chris Grayling said: "Behind the idea of zones lies the implicit promotion of a national scheme - how could you police the zones without some sort of national 'spy in the sky' technology?" A spokesman for the campaign group National Alliance Against Tolls said: "This is nonsense. Whatever system they use they can still record the movement of drivers, whether it is based on 'black boxes' or cameras."
The Government and its supporters are pretending that privacy concerns was the main reason that people signed the petition.
"If that was so why did the petition get 1.8million signatures while the petition against ID cards got only 28,000 signatures? Various surveys, including two carried out for the Government last year, have shown that drivers are very strongly opposed to road pricing."
Under the plans, city centres would be designated zone1, inner suburbs zone 2, outer suburbs zone 3 and rural areas zone 4.
A device installed in the car could record how many miles it had covered, while cameras would identify which zones it had passed through.
But Edmund King, of the RAC Foundation, said: "This road-pricing 'lite' throws up more problems than it seeks to solve.
"People who live in a quiet empty road near a busy congested highway will pay the same. That's hardly fair. I don't think motorists will but it."
A Department for Transport spokesman: "As no decision has been taken about whether to have a national road pricing scheme, no decision has been made about its potential format."

Monday, March 05, 2007

Questions to Ged Fitzgerald, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council

Here is a copy of the letter sent to the Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council on 1st March 2007.

Ged Fitzgerald
Sunderland City Council
Civic Centre
1st March 2007 by e-mail and Recorded Delivery.

Dear Mr. Fitzgerald,

It has been brought to my attention that there are currently still 260 locations in Sunderland which have wrongly drafted Traffic Regulation Orders or incorrect bays / missing signs.

Can you confirm this to be the case?

Can you confirm that instructions have been given to NCP to continue to enforce in those locations until 'complaints are raised by third parties?'

May I remind you that it is now some four years AFTER the date that Sunderland City Council told the Department for Transport that all the lines, signs and Traffic Orders would be correct and in force.

When being issued with a document purporting to be a Penalty Charge Notice this morning, the NCP Parking Attendant and Supervisor refused to ackowledge my request to identify whether the place my vehicle was parked was one of the 260 locations identified above, and refused to record anything to that effect in their pocketbooks.

I have already brought it to the attention of Northumbria Police and have copied DC Gary Hetherington into this request.
I will await your response before deciding which course of action to pursue.

Further to this, the Pay and Display machine still remains uncovered (and turned off) in Frederick Street and there is no notice to members of the public to indicate that the restriction is not in force (already confirmed by three separate adjudicators that the TRO was wrongly drafted).
Motorists are continuing to purchase pay and display tickets from nearby St. Thomas Street when parking in Frederick Street.

As Sunderland City Council have no valid and therefore legal restriction in force in the parking places in Frederick Street can you please confirm that ALL unlawfully derived monies (from fines and pay and display tickets) will be refunded from the date that the wrongly drafted Traffic Order was sealed by the City Solicitor.

I would be grateful for a response on the points raised forthwith and confirm that a copy will be made available to all elected members.

Yours sincerely,

Neil Herron
12 Frederick Street

Fraud Act 2006

3 Fraud by failing to disclose information

A person is in breach of this section if he-

(a) dishonestly fails to disclose to another person information which he is under a legal duty to disclose, and

(b) intends, by failing to disclose the information-

(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

4 Fraud by abuse of position

(1) A person is in breach of this section if he-

(a) occupies a position in which he is expected to safeguard, or not to act against, the financial interests of another person,

(b) dishonestly abuses that position, and

(c) intends, by means of the abuse of that position-

(i) to make a gain for himself or another, or

(ii) to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk of loss.

(2) A person may be regarded as having abused his position even though his conduct consisted of an omission rather than an act.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Had a Parking Ticket in Sunderland? Council drops another clanger

AS Sunderland City Council lurches from parking crisis to crisis another massive clanger emerges.

The white plastic Penalty Charge Notice pouch was used by the council until a few months ago.

It was replaced by a paper, environmentally friendly version (below).

However, the problem is not just one of the ticket turning to mush when it rains ... it is a lot worse ... and considerably more embarassing.

The document above states:


Therefore, there is a potential for prejudice for the motorist as it is purporting to be a PCN but does not contain the mandatory wording as required by Section 66(3) of the 1991 Road Traffic Act.
It makes no mention of the Penalty Charge Notice being enclosed as the plastic pouch did.
It simply refers to 'payment instructions inside.'

So, the message to EVERYONE in Sunderland who has had a PCN is to appeal stating that the PCN is non-compliant.

Fitting us into the EU box// Re: How the Govt works the non-EU angle

Fitting us into the EU box// Re: How the Govt works the non-EU angle

In British law the police needs a reason (reasonable grounds for suspicion that the person is committing or has committed an offence) to stop someone in the street. Hence the original resistance by the Home Office to random checks. In fact they amount to "fishing expeditions", considered wrong by us.

Not in Napoleonic Europe, where they can stop anybody for no reason at all, and demand "Papieren bitte" or "Vos papiers s'il vous plait" or "Favorisca i documenti, prego" to check their ID. Just to remind Joe citizen who is in charge. In some countries it is actually an offence to be caught without your ID card, in others though not a technical offence, it gives the police legal grounds for "holding" you in their custody for up to 48 hours while they "ascertain your identity
This change in our laws (below) is one small step in the process of twisting our system so that it conforms in "harmony" with those of the continent, and we will then be able to "fit" into the EU single box (shaped according to their specifications, not ours, of course).

Napoleon is laughing in his tomb.

The way our government works

Front page of The Times today (print edition) is a story headed, "Random breath tests to hit drink-drivers".

Repeated online , it tells us that motorists face random breath testing under government plans to reduce the toll of deaths and serious injuries from drink driving. Ministers, we are told, believe that giving the police the power to stop any driver, regardless of how they are driving, would be a powerful deterrent.

But hang on a moment. In May 2004, when this last came up, we had a robust statement from the Home Office, which insisted that random tests are not an efficient way of catching drink-drivers. Then, it saw no need for them to be introduced. What has changed?

What we do know is that the casualty rate from drink-driving has gone up in recent years, although many commentators put that down to the reduction in routine traffic patrols, as enforcement authorities give vent to their obsession with speed and replace uniformed police with entrapment robots, aka speed cameras. Random testing, therefore, is not the issue – the number of tests, and the need for routine patrolling is.

But, those with longer memories may remember that there is another agenda at work here. Back in May 2004, it was the EU which was demanding random testing. And, while the Home Office was resisting the idea, we wrote:
...and here is the crunch - the president of Tispol, the European Traffic Police Network, said the (EU) commission would attempt to make its recommendation a directive if it is not followed.
Says Ad Hellemons, also Dutch Assistant Commissioner of Police, talking to BBC Radio Five Live: "This is the first time the European Commission has made such a recommendation. The vast majority of member states already carry out random breath tests. We can’t understand why governments would want to protect drink-drivers".
"The European Commission has made it clear that they expect this recommendation to be followed. If not they will try to make it a directive". There you have it – you will do as we "recommend", or we will make it compulsory.

So, what does our government do? It leaves it a few years and then, out of the blue, it pops up with a proposal that just happens to bring it into line with the commission's demand. Coincidence? I think not.

But enough time has elapsed, however, for most people to have forgotten the original EU input, so it is seen as a UK initiative and the government can maintain the pretence that it is still in charge. Any EU involvement can be denied.

That is now the way our government works.

The ad the Sun, Mail and Express have banned the British people from seeing

There are social consequences for both migrant workers and domestic population alike. As we no longer have any internal border controls for anyone from the 26 other EU Member States taking advantage of the 'free movement of people' our politicians bury their heads in the sand

We need 'an adult debate' on our relationship with the European Union ... NOW!

"Tourists'" £700,000 unpaid parking fines

With respect to the journalist the majority of tickets are issued to migrant workers not tourists.
The DVLA and the Police across the country are being forced to admit that this is a growing problem and impossible to legislate against ... unless EVERY car is stopped on sight.
Local authorities are forced to write off millions in fines.
This is another practical consequence of the free movement of people within the EU.
A migrant worker doesn't need to register his car for 6 months.
No tax.
No parking tickets or road fines.
Sell the car after 6 months or produce another ferry ticket just in case stopped by the authorities.
How many cars?
60,000 went through the Congestion Charge without paying in the last two years...are they all tourists?

The Scotsman
TOURISTS parking their cars illegally in Edinburgh have escaped paying £700,000 worth of fines which cannot be enforced because the owners do not live in Britain.
A loophole in the law has forced the city council to write-off thousands of parking fines issued to foreign-registered vehicles over the past four years.
Owners of British-registered vehicles can be traced through the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in Swansea if they fail to pay.
However, the council says it cannot pursue drivers responsible for almost 20,000 unpaid tickets as the DVLA has no record of foreign owners.
Motoring groups last night called for tougher action to ensure people from other countries are treated the same as British motorists.
Luke Bosdet, spokesman for the AA, said: "It will be galling for drivers in this country when they see that drivers of foreign-registered cars are getting off Scot-free with parking fines.
"No doubt the council has calculated that it would not be economically-viable to pursue these motorists in their home countries. If they were to try and do that, I assume the Edinburgh council taxpayer would be saddled with an even bigger bill.
"However, some of these motorists will be foreigners who have brought their car over when they come to live here. They are required by law to register their vehicle with the DVLA after six months. If they are not doing this, then I suggest the most regular and persistent offenders should be taken to court."
Sheila Rainger, campaign manager for the RAC Foundation, added: "This is a problem across the country. It also applies to drivers who have been flashed by a speed camera.
"There is anecdotal evidence in London that people are actively trying to buy foreign-registered cars in this country."
The city council is supporting a campaign by the British Parking Association to close the loophole.
Councillor Ricky Henderson, executive member for transport, said: "This is a problem across the UK and I can understand how frustrating it must be for motorists who dutifully pay their parking fines.
"There are currently no cross-border warrants for parking tickets within Europe. I hope to see a solution to this nationally and this loophole closed.
"If there was a strong agreement in place between countries in the European Union on the recovery of parking fines then perhaps the figure owed to the council would be lower."
Allan Jackson, the council's Conservative transport spokesman, said: "This comes as no surprise. It is a well-known fact in Britain that if is difficult to trace foreign vehicle owners.
"It is something councils have been looking at for a long time and more action needs to be taken through the European Union. We could understand if a driver made a one-off mistake but to visit someone's country and abuse our hospitality is another matter."

Busy day ... free movement of people fuse well and truly lit

Lunchtime slot on the Jon Gaunt Show on TalkSPORT as spokesman for the Speakout Campaign which may well be very soon the only Eurosceptic game in town.

The profile of the campaign was raised to the rafters after a series of 'A Migrant a Minute' ads were run in local, regional and national newspapers.

The consequences of treaty agreements and the free movement directive are that anyone from any one of the EU Member States can live, travel and work in any other Member State ... however, the practical consequences of this has never been thought out by a Government whose predictions were out by a factor of 50.

This blog has reported some of the consequences.

The blue touchpaper was lit today.

This is the straw that will break the EUs back.

There is massive political vacuum in this country ... and the three main parties continue to lie and obfuscate...and refuse to debate the issue.

It is likely that Speakout will fill the vacuum and ask the questions that the politicians will be forced to answer and expose what has been done in our name without ever having our consent.

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