St Albans motorists escape fines in off-street parking row
HUNDREDS of motorists who have given off-street parking tickets since March last year will not have to pay them in the wake of a penalty tribunal decision. But those who have paid already will be considered to have admitted liability and will not be eligi
HUNDREDS of motorists who have given off-street parking tickets since March last year will not have to pay them in the wake of a penalty tribunal decision.
But those who have paid already will be considered to have admitted liability and will not be eligible for a refund unless they can provide evidence that they were unfairly penalised.
It follows an appeal to a tribunal over a penalty charge notice (PCN) issued in March this year against a vehicle parked in Bowers Way car park, Harpenden. The complainant maintained that the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) under which the penalty had been imposed had failed to take account of changes in the Traffic Management act of 2004 and other related regulations.
A review by the council's head of legal services, Mike Lovelady, has confirmed that the TRO which authorised the council to collect off-street parking fees was valid but penalty charge notices were unenforceable throughout that period.
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As a result no action will be taken against 1,600 unpaid parking tickets since March 2008.
A spokesperson for the council said this week that they had considered whether to instigate refunds to drivers who had received and paid penalty charge notices. But as they were clearly issued for contraventions of the regulation, drivers who had already paid their fines would be considered to have admitted liability.
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She added: "However, the council will, of course, investigate any claims on a case by case basis from individuals who can provide evidence that they have been unfairly issued with a PCN for off-street parking contraventions."
Daniel Goodwin, the council's chief executive, apologised for the technical errors which had led to the tribunal and said that a new TRO had come into effect today.
A review is being carried out about what happened and parking procedures generally.