Don't miss a story sign up to the North Devon Gazette's FREE daily newsletter CLICK HERE

Thousands of car park fines are cancelled by council

08:00 12 June 2014

Fremington man Tony Wood won an appeal after spending three months fighting a parking fine.

Fremington man Tony Wood won an appeal after spending three months fighting a parking fine.

Archant

More than a fifth of tickets overturned by North Devon Council in last three years.

MORE than 4,000 car parking fines have been cancelled by North Devon Council in the last three years, the Gazette can reveal.

Figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request show that, in 2011-12 and 2012-13, around a quarter of Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued in council-run car parks around the district were struck off.

Last year, the figure dropped to 15 per cent.

Of the 6,097 tickets issued in 2011-12, 1,486 were cancelled. A total of 6,289 were issued in 2012-13, 1,601 of which were overturned.

More tickets were issued in 2013-14 (6,395) but fewer were overturned (988).

Of the 16 reasons given for cancellation, the vast majority of tickets were cancelled in cases where motorists could prove they had purchased a valid ticket (79 per cent in 2011-12; 73 per cent in 2012-13; and 59 per cent in 2013-14).

Other reasons listed include ‘mitigating circumstances’; ‘medical emergency’; ‘machine fault’; and ‘valid permit’.

The council said each case was looked at on an individual basis and discretion used to decide whether the PCN should be waived, depending on ‘evidence provided and extenuating circumstances’.

But last month, the authority was told to review its procedures after Fremington man Tony Wood won a three-month battle to contest a parking ticket issued in Barnstaple’s Cattle Market car park in February.

Mr Wood had 20 minutes remaining on his ticket but was issued a PCN after his ticket blew over on his dashboard.

The fine was eventually waived by the council after he appealed to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Adjudicator John Parker criticised the council’s ‘inflexible policy’ and said Mr Woods’s case was not given ‘proper, informed consideration’ by the council.

Mr Wood said: “The council spent a lot of time and money dealing with something that could have been dealt with at the outset.

“They knew very well that they were going to lose but still went ahead with it.

“I would encourage anyone to do the same – it might take a bit of time but at least you will get justice.”

Meanwhile, holidaymaker Steve Burgess, whose valid ticket was blown off his dashboard on Ilfracombe Quay, was not as fortunate.

Mr Burgess, from Caerleon in South Wales, contacted the Gazette to air his ‘disgust’ at the treatment he received when trying to appeal a car parking fine.

He said a letter he wrote to the district council appealing the fine was not even acknowledged.

“There are clearly discretionary grounds for cancelling the charge but I felt I was bullied into paying it because if you don’t pay up and go to appeal you may end up paying double the amount,” said Mr Burgess, who was visiting North Devon with his wife to help him recover from a lengthy bout of chemotherapy treatment.

“I have paid the charge because I felt I had no option, but I would really like to get an explanation as to why this discretionary power to cancel the penalty charge was rejected in my case.

“I believe this is a very poor way to treat a visitor to the area who has really done nothing wrong. I can totally understand why people don’t return to the area.”

Diana Hill, the council’s head of property and technical services, said a PCN is issued for non-display rather than for not having purchased a ticket.

“We would like to remind drivers to please check that their parking tickets are clearly displayed before they leave their vehicles,” she said.

0 comments

Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files
Comments

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other North Devon Gazette visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by North Devon Gazette staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique North Devon Gazette account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

Other News Stories

17:36

Councillors turn down controversial proposals to earmark the region for wind energy

Read more
17:16
North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones (right) with Steve Crowther, Michael Pagram, Joanne Bell, Mark Cann and David Chalmers on the estuary near the Yelland site.

Cross party call for end to ‘planning vacuum’ that favours developers

Read more
12:18
Barnstaple's Queens Theatre

North Devon councillors have agreed an offer from North Devon Theatres Trust for the leasehold of the Queen’s Theatre and the Landmark Theatre.

Read more

The man in his 50s is recovering in hospital after being pushed to the floor and kicked by man asking for cigarettes and drink.

Read more
12:10
Work by Polly Morris

There’s tonnes to see and do around the town this Saturday and Sunday

Read more
Terry Baker is hoping to hit the £500,000 mark before his 65th birthday. Picture: Sarah Howells

Terry Baker is hoping to hit the half-a-million-pound mark for Children’s Hospice South West before he turns 65.

Read more
10:41
Guy Harrop

Take a look at Guy Harrop’s commended Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year photo.

Read more
Could you volunteer?

Charity needs female volunteers to help with rape and sexual assault victims’ support helpline in Barnstaple and Exeter.

Read more
10:30
Sidney Teckman, front centre, pictured with members of his family during his visit to the Saunton Sands Hotel in April this year. Picture: ND Photos

Hotel has special appeal for loyal holidaymaker, 95.

Read more
09:50

Here is a quick snapshot of each candidate to help make up your mind when the region goes to the polls tomorrow (Thursday)

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 16°C

min temp: 6°C

Most Read News

Great British Life

Great British Life

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
North Devon Football League
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Google Plus Page
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Read Online

Image
Read the North Devon Gazette e-edition E-edition

Newsletter Sign Up

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Local business directory

North Devon's trusted business finder

Find planning applications