Lancaster resident ‘livid’ over £550 parking fines

Photo Neil Cross'Hilli McManus has issues with residents parking in Lancaster city centre and has been fined hundreds of pounds
Photo Neil Cross'Hilli McManus has issues with residents parking in Lancaster city centre and has been fined hundreds of pounds

Changes to parking rules in Lancaster city centre are causing major headaches for residents.

Hilli McManus, of Moor Lane, has just paid a £551 fine for two overdue parking tickets after she parked in Pay and Display spaces because she couldn’t find a residents’ space.

Photo Neil Cross'Hilli McManus has issues with residents parking in Lancaster city centre and has been fined hundreds of pounds

Photo Neil Cross'Hilli McManus has issues with residents parking in Lancaster city centre and has been fined hundreds of pounds

She says that changes to rules since Lancashire County Council took over parking services in the city centre has meant that trade vehicles have been using spaces in Zone A, in a scheme that is “already five times over subscribed”.

She also says that the introduction of two visitor permits per household, as previously reported in the Lancaster Guardian, has made the problems even worse.

Hilli, who has recently had breast cancer, says that while she understands there are no guarantees of parking in Zone A, the change to the rules should have gone out 
to consultation with residents.

County Coun Gina Dowding, who represents Lancaster Central, said she is disappointed that the county council has introduced blanket rules for the whole of Lancashire, rather than specific rules for specific needs in each town or city.

Hilli said: “Because county changed the rules without due process, suddenly we were innundated with trades, skips and scaffold, using up nine places in a scheme that is already five times over subscribed.

“I drove round town three times to try and park and couldn’t park in a specified bay, so on both occasions I was forced to park as close as I could. However, because I suffer from memory problems, focus and concentration issues and severe and debilitating migraines after mastectomy, I plain forgot where I had parked.

“The second time I was livid, because the same happened again and I bought two pay and display tickets, went home, and then forgot I’d had to park in pay and display. I was again ticketed.”

Her subsequent appeal, which included a doctor’s note, was rejected by the county council. She said that in the 28 years she had lived in the city centre, she has had three tickets since the new rules were introduced.

“I’ve never used my cancer as a recognised disability, but it is, and as such County Council Parking Services, Peter Bell and Keith Iddon, should be using discretion in my case.”

“A £551 fine spiralling from two tickets from Pay and Display because county had steamrollered the perfectly managed city council scheme in Zone A,” she added.

A Lancashire County Council spokesman said: “Anyone who receives a parking penalty is entitled to make an appeal, and we provide people with detailed guidance at each stage of the process, including how to appeal to the independent parking adjudicator if their representations as part of our process have not been successful and they want to continue their appeal.

“In this case a penalty was issued for not displaying a valid ticket while parked in a pay and display bay.

“The deadline for making an appeal to the independent parking adjudicator was missed, and therefore the time for contesting the charge had lapsed.”

In the 28 years I have lived here, and since the initiation of the Parking Scheme in Zone A, I have had three tickets.

One ticket was just after mastectomy when I could drive again and had completely forgotten I’d had to park in Pay and Display. I appealed that ticket, again, I was unwell, but my memory issues were appalling.

They accepted my appeal but went on to tell me that I needed to find ways around my memory problems.

I had just had cancer, lost a breast and my state of mind or memory was totally useless. You can only imagine the distress that comment caused.

I was advised by HM Tribunals service to send my out of time appeal to the Authority concerned, this I did to Lancashire County Council.

Instead of them passing my documents to the relevant department, they sent them back, around two weeks later, telling me I needed to send them to the Parking/Penalties department!

I asked for their adjudication service number very early on, as I had lost a set of papers and I was never told by them just who the adjudication service was. It can’t be right that Lancashire County Council are judge and jury over an appealed ticket from someone in my situation.

It’s now really serious with Lancashire County Council and their running roughshod over the Parking Scheme they took over, without consultation or due process on 1st April 2018.

I’ve just been clamped by Bailiffs, in my own Resident Permit Bays!

I appealed against them inflicting a fine against my being forced to park in Pay and Display in April and May, when the chaos was at its worst.

They’ve spiralled my costs, refused my appeals because I’m against their lack of due process.

It’s completely political and costs are currently at £561 against me.

County conveniently didn’t send on my appeal to the right department, I had surgery again on December 4th, wrote again to them on 14th, heard nothing and now this!!

I’ve just had to pay Bailiffs £551 to unclamp my car for being a Resident who was forced to park in Pay and Display on two occasions because Lancashire County Council changed the rules on our purchase of permits without telling us they’d got rid of tradesman’s permits.

Disgust doesn’t cover it, but it goes to the core of what County have done over a City run service. Bully tactics.

PS will you also make the point that Zone A residents are paying £40 for their permits whilst everyone else appears to pay only £25. It’s not a huge issue, City Centre is very restricted parking, but we all pay Council Tax and City Centre spaces are severely restricted for Residents in that Zone A is four or five times over subscribed, and much worse now County have handed out two Visitors Permits per household in our zone. With City it was just one and under control, though never perfect as you can imagine

County Councillor Gina Dowding, who represents Lancaster Central, said: “We are really disappointed that the County Council decided to take back the administration of the residents parking scheme and want to make the rules about the residents parking the same everywhere across Lancashire.

The residents parking scheme has been rolled out over the years in a piecemeal way and in each new zones has been tailored so that it works in that area. There are very different needs and issues around city centre parking in Lancaster compared other towns in Lancashire –say Chorley or Burnley.