Loophole shut after driver won his appeal

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A coach driver who won his appeal against a parking ticket handed out to him by Calderdale Council has said they should not carrying on ticketing following the ruling.

Mr John Whitehead of Hebden Bridge based coach company Pioneer Travel successfully appealed over a Calderdale Council £70 parking penalty charge.

Mr Whitehead’s vehicle was parked on the former Hebden Bridge Fire Station site at Valley Road, Hebden Bridge.

But the council said the correct documents had not been supplied to the court. Procedures had been amended and wardens will continue issuing tickets there.

The ticket was issued on October 26 last year and Mr Whitehead went through the appeals system where, in the spring he won his appeal at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal held at Manchester.

The appeal ajudicator concluded that the Penalty Charge Notice was not issued under an enforceable TRO (parking place order) - this was because the adjudicator found the car park was not “provided by” the council as required under the Road Traffic Regulations Act 1984 if enforcement under the Traffic Management Act is to follow.

The council, said the adjudicator, had described itself as “managing” the car park and took it from this that it was effectively the agents of the third party in enforcing the restrictions - there was no suggestion the third party was a local authority as anticipated by the legislation and it may not therefore issue or enforce PCNs under the TMA.

Mr Whitehead contacted the Hebden Bridge Times because he says he has seen traffic wardens in recent weeks still ticketing cars parked on that site and this has angered him. He has also raised points about availability of coach parking and continuing the ticketing in what is a tourist town.

He had had to put his vehicle in the Valley Road site as the three coach bays in or on the outskirts of town were occupied by cars and a council van, he says.

Mr Whitehead said: “Calderdale want to be brought to task - that they know they can’t legally get the money off you but are still issuing the tickets.

“Why are they still ticketing?

“They want the tourists here and don’t want to put them off. We want as many as possible.

“We really need coach parking bays in the town - the one they’ve got isn’t adequate enough; it says coaches only but there are forever local buses in there, or cars.”

But a council spokesperson said it had closed the loophole.

Calderdale Council’s Head of Planning and Highways, Geoff Willerton, explained: “Mr Whitehead won his appeal as unfortunately we did not supply the relevant lease agreement to the Tribunal along with the legal order to show that we have authority to manage Valley Road car park on behalf of the landowner.

“We have now amended our procedure to ensure the lease agreement is sent with any other appeals for this car park, and others that we manage on behalf of landowners.

“The parking places order for Valley Road car park is correct and we are able to enforce and charge there.

“In Hebden Bridge there are coach drop-off bays in the town centre by the marina, and coach parking just outside the centre. With the need to balance the different demands on parking in the town and the space available, it would be difficult to provide further coach parking.”