2nd Jul, 2022

Coventry council's parking fines scheme STILL 'inadequate', national tribunal rules

Felix Nobes 26th Jul, 2019 Updated: 26th Jul, 2019

COVENTRY City Council is being urged to scrap its parking fines scheme as a national tribunal continues to label it ‘inadequate’ – despite extra signs.

It comes a year on from a scathing report by the independent legal experts at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal (TPT).

Campaigners now say that if the council refuses to abolish it, it should contest upheld parking fines appeals at the High Court.

That would test whether the city centre Restricted Parking Zone (RPZ) is legitimate in the eyes of the country’s top lawyers, campaigners add.

Campaigners have now highlighted four known recent cases of appeals by motorists against parking fines being upheld by the TPT, the most recent in March.

In each case the TPT ruled the scheme was inadequate as it failed to fairly inform motorists with information and signage.

Despite the council adding signs last year amid the furore, the TPT continues to rule signage is confusing – and even fails to notify motorists they are in the RPZ.

In each of the four rulings, the independent lawyers instructed the fines should be cancelled due to ‘inadequate information’ being provided to motorists, including in Spon Street.

A ruling by adjudicator Sarah Tozzi in March said: “RPZs are intended for use in small defined areas or single streets.

“Here the zone is large and encompasses many streets, so it is larger than recommended.

“I cannot tell where the nearest entry zone is in relation to this road. In any event the entry zone signs cause confusion.

“I find that inadequate information was provided about the restriction. I therefore find that the contravention did not occur.”

Road safety campaigner Richard Heneghan said: “The RPZ should be scrapped. Double yellow lines should be put back.

“TPT is still telling the council to cancel PCNs on the basis the RPZ doesn’t comply with Department for Transport rules – and that the signage is confusing and non-compliant.

“We can prove that Nottingham (council) allowed a test case to progress to High Court (which was lost) as they wanted to find out once and for all if they were getting it wrong for their residents.

“However, Coventry continue to blindly fine people…while quietly having to cancel those PCNs reaching TPT appeal.”

He added Abdul Khan had told the council last year that it would not be challenging the adjudicators’ rulings, and had ruled out going for a review as ‘TPT colleagues’ would simply uphold the TPT chief adjudicator’s earlier findings.

Coun Khan had claimed a barrister hired by the council at city taxpayers’ expense had advised the scheme was still enforceable “subject to adequate signage”.

Last year’s furore resulted in an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) at the council when ruling Labour councillors continued their steadfast defence of the scheme.

Opposition councillors had alleged the then city service cabinet member Jayne Innes had misled council and the public about the RPZ – calling for an apology – claims she denied.

Last year, we reported that 60,000 motorists had been fined as a result of parking within the RPZ – raising millions of pounds for the council.

Campaigners have for years called on the council to write off all fines issued in the ‘flawed’ RPZ after years of it being ruled ‘inadequate’ by the TPT.

The council declined to respond.

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