Fines set to be cancelled

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DOZENS of parking fines could be overturned at a cost of £1,600 after it was revealed that restrictions outside a school were not enforceable.

Transport chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council will meet this week to review parking restrictions outside Ward Jackson Primary School, in Clark Street.

The issue arose after Leo Moran was fined after parking his Land Rover on yellow lines in the street earlier this summer.

Mr Moran, a retired police traffic officer who also worked for the Highways Agency, raised concerns that the lines and warning signs were wrong and successfully appealed.

That led to the council suspending enforcement action and reviewing orders outside all schools.

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development, will discuss the issue on Friday.

A report by Phil Hepburn, the council’s parking services manager, said: “The appeal in relation to the parking contravention has resulted in the penalty charge notice being withdrawn, however there are a number of other penalty charge notices which have also been issued in Clark Street and have subsequently been recovered and settled.

“The head of legal services is of the opinion that the authority has operated in good faith in relation to both the enforcement of the traffic regulation orders and the recovery of the penalty charge notices.

“However, he has advised that the authority should reconsider any cases where motorists consider they may have been wrongly issued with a penalty charge notice.”

Officers are recommending that motorists who have received a penalty notice in Clark Street can ask for their case to be reviewed and that amended traffic regulations are prepared and road markings altered.

Meanwhile, officers are also reviewing other restrictions in place at all schools across town.

Between July 2005 and August this year the local authority handed out 30 penalty notices, 27 of which have been paid, to motorists parking on the School Keep Clear markings in Clark Street.

In most cases the council received a £35 payment.

A further 24 penalty notice tickets have been handed out to motorists parking in the restricted waiting time areas, 21 of which have been paid.

If all those are refunded it will cost £1,680.

Meanwhile, the cost of advertising the legal orders and remarking Clark Street is about £250.

Mr Moran, who lives in The Oval, Hartlepool, was given a £70 fine after parking his Land Rover on July 28.

The 57-year-old, who was going to the nearby postal sorting office, said he only parked there because it was the summer holidays and there was nowhere else to park.

He argued that drivers should only be penalised for parking there during school hours and that the marking, dimension and restrictions on the layout of the School Keep Clear sign were wrong.

The portfolio meeting is due to take place at the civic centre on Friday, September 16 at 3.30pm.