Pock­eted in fines in 4 months

‘Eye-wa­ter­ing ’to­tal for coun­cil

Stirling Observer - - FRONT PAGE - Kaiya Mar­jorib­anks

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.

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