£6,000 owed to 'illegal' parkers
PUBLISHED: 12:46 30 November 2012
A crusading retired policeman claimed this week that motorists may have been wrongly fined a total of up to £6,000 over four years for parking in an Exmouth town centre street.
Mr Percy Prowse, the Conservative county councillor for Duryard and Pennsylvania in Exeter, told the Journal that legal documents drafted for Victoria Road in 2008 had been botched by county traffic officers.
The disputed parking areas are a 35-metre and a 25-metre restricted parking bay outside Victoria Road’s shops and an adjacent disabled parking space stretching from the Manchester Street to the Imperial Road junction.
All traffic orders were redrafted and readvertised four years ago when the responsibility was transferred from police to county hall.
But the orders for Victoria Road were incorrectly labelled as St Andrews Road, said Mr Prowse.
The councillor said the mistake went unnoticed until this year, when county hall officials filed papers to amend the error.
This week, he argued that it could mean the traffic order - and possibly the fines issued over the past three years - were invalid.
The retired police officer revealed he had made a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which showed that, since May 2008, some 54 Penalty Fare Notices (PCNs) had been issued in the disabled bay and 112 in the limited waiting bays.
With a minimum fine of £35, Councillor Prowse estimates that motorists could have wrongly paid out £6,000.
He said that, under the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984, if a mistake was made in a traffic order it could not be just amended - the whole order would have to be redrafted and readvertised.
He said: “Having discovered this, I would be very interested to hear from any motorists who have paid a parking ticket any time over the past three years in Victoria Road.
“A lot of people don’t challenge fines - they don’t know how.
“If you don’t pay a fine within a certain time frame, the amount goes up - so most people just pay up and get it over with.”
● Devon County Council was asked to comment, but had not responded at the time of going to press.