Review of all school parking

Cars parked in Clark Street
Cars parked in Clark Street

COUNCIL bosses have called for a review of all parking restrictions outside schools after it was revealed signs and markings at one site were not enforceable.

Transport chiefs at Hartlepool Borough Council met to review restrictions outside Ward Jackson Primary School, in Clark Street, after eagle-eyed resident Leo Moran raised concerns.

The retired police traffic officer successfully argued the lines and warning signs were wrong after being fined for parking his Land Rover on yellow lines in the street.

Enforcement action in the street was suspended and orders outside all primary and secondary schools are now under review.

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, portfolio holder for regeneration and economic development, said the work was “a priority” at a recent meeting.

The Clark Street error could cost the council £1,680 in repaid fines, as previously reported by the Mail.

Between July 2005 and August this year the local authority handed out a total of 54 penalty notices to motorists parking on the School Keep Clear markings in Clark Street or for parking in the restricted waiting time areas.

Anyone who has been given a fine in the street can ask for it to be reviewed.

Phil Hepburn, the council’s parking services manager, said enforcement action will be suspended outside any schools, both primary and secondary, if the signage and markings is wrong.

Early indications show eight schools could be affected but assessments are still being carried out.

Coun Hargreaves said: “The important thing is that all of these areas are checked as soon as possible.

“If areas are not compliant then we will make sure the appropriate orders are in place as a matter of urgency.

“The whole point of these markings is to ensure child safety.”

Once the review has been completed a report will go back before Coun Hargreaves.

Coun Hargreaves added: “We are trying to make good a situation that we have got wrong for various reasons.

“If we have incorrectly given someone a penalty notice then we have made a commitment to repay that.

“I have no desire to take money away from people that do not deserve it.”

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 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.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Moran said: “I am concerned about the implications this could have for other areas in town.”

He also raised fears that motorists incorrectly fined could sue the council for compensation - something council officers said they would investigate.

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