Scores of tickets could be overturned in school parking fines dispute

The road markings and signs outside Ward Jackson Primary School, in Clark Street
The road markings and signs outside Ward Jackson Primary School, in Clark Street

COUNCIL bosses have suspended enforcement action after an eagle-eyed motorist complained that parking restrictions outside a school were not enforceable.

It comes after resident Leo Moran raised concerns about the design of yellow lines and warning signs in Clark Street, outside Ward Jackson Primary School, Hartlepool.

As a result, Hartlepool Borough Council is also carrying out a review of signs and road markings outside other schools across town.

The cost to the council could be significant if fines dished out over the past few years are overturned.

It comes after Mr Moran was slapped with a £70 fine for parking on yellow lines in the street while he called at the nearby postal sorting office.

The retired traffic officer, who has more than 30 years’ experience of parking regulations, said he only parked there because it was the summer holidays and there was nowhere else to park.

Instead of paying, the 57-year-old widower, who had major concerns that the parking restrictions were not correct, did some research to back up his hunch and lodged an appeal.

He is so determined to have the fine overturned that he is willing to go to court to clear his name.

Council officers have confirmed there is an “anomaly” in Clark Street and have suspended enforcement action while a review is carried out.

It is not yet clear how many people have been slapped with parking tickets in Clark Street since the council took over control of enforcement action in 2005.

But Mr Moran, who worked as a traffic officer for Cleveland Police for 30 years and also worked as a traffic officer for the Highways Agency, believes the cost to the council could be “significant” if fines are overturned on appeal.

Mr Moran, who lives in The Oval, Hartlepool, said: “The people of Hartlepool deserve to be protected, not just from the criminal aspect, but also from this.

“I was annoyed when I got the ticket and I thought I would just pay the money and forget about it.

“But I decided to carry out some research and submit an appeal, which is still being considered by the council.

“I would never normally park outside a school, but it was the summer holidays and there was nowhere else to park.”

He was given the fine, which is reduced to £35 if paid within two weeks, on Thursday, July 28, at 11.25am after parking his Land Rover in Clark Street.

He had stopped to pick up a parcel from the Post Office sorting office.

Mr Moran, who had never been given a ticket in his life, added: “We are going back to 2005 when the powers were transferred to the council.

“What I would like to see is an amnesty on parking enforcement across the town because who knows how many orders are incorrect?”

Labour councillor Pamela Hargreaves, the council’s cabinet member for regeneration and economic development, said: “We are extremely grateful to Mr Moran for pointing out this anomaly, and as a result we feel that we have no option but to suspend enforcement of the parking restrictions in this area pending the completion of a review.

“It is important to remember, however, that these parking restrictions are there for a good reason – to ensure the safety of children attending school.

“As well as reviewing the parking restrictions in force in this area, we will also be checking similar restrictions that have been introduced outside schools elsewhere in the town.

“Should anyone who has received a penalty charge notice for parking illegally in Clark Street wish to appeal, then we will always consider such appeals on their individual merits.”