Pocketed in fines in 4 months
‘Eye-watering ’total for council
tickets in the first two weeks after the council took over the job of parking enforcement on May 3.
This was in contrast to 110 tickets issued by police in the city centre between the beginning of April and end of July last year.
The latest figures - showing that more than 30 times that amount had been issued since May - were revealed at a meeting of the council’s environment and housing committee yesterday (Thursday).
In total 3,617 parking tickets have been issued by the council since May 3. Of these 2014 were
paid within the 14 days period at £30 each, equalling £60,420.
Another 112 were paid within four weeks at £60 per ticket, equal to £6,720, and one was paid beyond that time at £90.
Another 299 tickets have been cancelled - a figure said to be in line with the average cancellation rates for other authorities.
That leaves, however, 1192 still unpaid and in the system.
Bannockburn ward councillor Alasdair Macpherson described the amount of cash raised by the fines as “eye-watering”.
He added: “This is major money being made that I can’t say I agree with. I would rather see officers dealing with antisocial behaviour than making money for the council.”
However, committee chair Councillor Jim Thomson said: “For five or six years a lot of people got away with not paying for parking and there was dreadful behaviour with people causing obstructions etc so we put out signs on lamposts telling them there would be zero tolerance and I would hope behaviour has changed. I can see it for myself.
“Some traders are their own worst enemies as they choose to use the space outside their shop rather than leave it for transient visitors.”
Officers said businesses were generally given 10 minutes “grace”, although some businesses “abused” it.
They pledged, however, to speak with traders to discuss whether there were specific problems or whether, for example, more time was needed.
Safer Connected Communities team leader Margaret Wallace said: “Behaviour has changed and thankfully that means that from a road safety element the town centre has got better. In terms of the traders it is about building relationships.”
Councillor Alasdair Tollemache praised the team, adding: “We have a responsibility to support them because this is not an easy job to do.”
Following the meeting, Councillor Thomson said: “This is the initial set of figures as people get used to the changes. The next set of figures should give a broader picture and show that things have settled.”
In terms of the third of unpaid tickets, it is believed while some may be being ignored, others are under appeal.
Officers also acknowledged the possibility that some could be being ignored because of confusion over notices issued by private car park operators.
Notices issued by private parking firms for parking on private land and car parks and are not fines but simply invoices as private firms do not have an official right to fine drivers and it is therefore seen as a contractual dispute.
Recent controversy over private park firms has led to widespread publicity suggesting motorists could ignore such fines.
Official parking fines, however, are called penalty charge notices or fixed penalty notices, and are issued by bodies like councils or the police.
While drivers won’t have committed a criminal offence, if they don’t pay within the correct time period the local authority has the power to ultimately register the debt with the court without a court hearing, and recover the charge using sheriff officers.