Council suspends parking fees on Halifax streets due to huge legal blunder

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An administrative error will cost Calderdale Council hundreds of thousands of pounds after council bosses admitted that parking orders in Halifax town centre have been illegal since 2008.

Serious errors were found in legal documents relating to on-street parking spaces in Halifax town centre and Skircoat since 2008.

The council has been forced to suspend all on-street parking charges after a parking ticket was successfully challenged by a member of the public.

All affected parking charges have been suspended and could be for up to three months if the council are unable to obtain an emergency legal order.

Officers estimate that up to £200,000 could be lost in revenue from parking machines, and a further £200,000 in refunds for illegally issued parking tickets.

It is estimated that more than 7,000 penalty charge notices (pcn) will be refunded to those who were fined on those streets

However, the council will still issue PCNs where cars are parked on yellow lines, in loading bays, in disabled bays and in car parks.

Council leader Stephen Baines said: “The decision was made because it became clear that our traffic regulation orders for these areas cannot be legally enforced.

“There have been some errors in all the background information on these orders - they were small errors, but they were sufficient to make them enforceable.

“This doesn’t affect the car parks, loading bays, double yellow lines or disabled bay, because they’re under a different order.

“We are taking steps to make sure all of the parking charges are suspended and no tickets will be issued for these spaces.”

Calderdale Council’s Director of Economy and Environment, Ian Gray said: “Traffic regulation orders are highly technical documents and this issue only came to light after one of our orders was challenged. When we checked the details it became clear that there were errors within the orders, which date back to 2008.

“When we realised there was a problem we immediately stopped issuing penalty charge notices in the affected areas. We are also switching off the parking meters in those streets so that they can no longer accept payments – we expect that this work will be completed by 8 October 2014.

“The charges for on-street pay and display parking, and for some residents’ parking in these areas have now been temporarily suspended. As the old order was unenforceable, drivers who have received a PCN after parking in the affected streets will be able to request a refund. We will write directly to all affected residents in Skircoat.

“We are now checking that the TROs which cover other areas of Calderdale are correct. We have started to review these but as they are very detailed, complex documents it will take several months for us to complete this assessment. As soon as we have more information we will make this public.”

If you have received a pcn after parking in Halifax town centre or Skircoat since 2008 and believe that you are entitled to a refund visit www.calderdale.gov.uk where you will find a Frequently Asked Questions section and our online refund form to complete. Your claim will be assessed and a refund will be issued if you are eligible.