Residents and visitors to Southport are being penalised for an outdated parking policy which takes no account of the new modern technology now available at parking meters.
The Council have invested in new parking machines which now allow motorists to pay for parking using their bank card but Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Councillor Sue McGuire has raised concerns that the policy regarding parking tickets needs to be reviewed and updated.
Councillor McGuire said
“I understand the current Council policy that it is the motorists’ responsibility to ensure that a valid parking ticket is displayed at all times whilst the vehicle is parked. But what concerns me, is when a motorist appeals a parking fine for non-display and is able to provide evidence that a parking ticket was purchased by card, Sefton Council still insist on payment of the fine. This is grossly unfair – surely if you can show a receipt for payment, that should be enough for the fine to be withdrawn”.
Councillor McGuire added,
“The law says that, ‘An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point and that authorities have a duty to act fairly and proportionately’. In the situation outlined, the law seems pretty clear, proof of purchase has been provided and I don’t understand how it can be deemed ‘fair’ to penalise a person who paid to park”
Councillor Mike Booth has also raised similar concerns about fines being issued when parking tickets are not displayed.
Councillor Booth explained,
“Most places in the UK now provide tickets which have an adhesive strip that allows them to be fixed to the windscreen. Why, when the Council were investing so much in new machines, was this option not considered?”
Councillor Booth added
“I have asked Sefton Council to explain their decision and have been given a range of reasons including hot weather and condensation – but if most other places can manage, why can’t Sefton? It would save a huge amount of stress for motorists who are sometimes being penalised for a draft of wind.”
Advice of the DfT and the Secretary of State.
Paragraph 85 from the Secretary of State’s Statutory Guidance to Local Authorities advises;
85. An authority has a discretionary power to cancel a PCN at any point throughout the CPE process. It can do this even when an undoubted
contravention has occurred if the authority deems it to be appropriate in the circumstances of the case. Under general principles of public law, authorities
have a duty to act fairly and proportionately and are encouraged to exercise discretion sensibly and reasonably and with due regard to the public interest
This statutory guidance is given legal authority by section 87 of the Traffic Management Act 2004 whereby statute instructs that the council must have regard to this guidance. Any failure to have regard to this guidance is a procedural impropriety as defined by regulation 4(5) of the Civil Enforcement of Parking Contraventions (England) Representations and Appeals Regulations 2007;
4(5) In these Regulations “procedural impropriety” means a failure by the enforcement authority to observe any requirement imposed on it by the 2004 Act, by the General Regulations or by these Regulations in relation to the imposition or recovery of a penalty charge or other sum and includes in particular—