SCARBOROUGH’S former top traffic officer has accused the borough council of “highway robbery” over car parking tickets.
Former police traffic sergeant Keith Hughes, an acknowledged expert on all aspects of parking regulations, insists that certain road signs and markings in the town are illegal, and that fines administered in these areas should be refunded.
He claims that tickets issued on Seamer Road as well as roads near The Sands are illegal due to incorrect signs and markings in the area, which do not conform with full and correct procedure.
Mr Hughes has taken it upon himself to get justice for drivers through his knowledge of the roads. He said: “In July 2010 I helped a local motorist win his case at a tribunal, even though the borough council employed a barrister to act on their behalf. The adjudicator stated that the Traffic Regulation Order that Scarborough Borough Council had drawn up was probably the worst they had ever seen.”
Since that day, Mr Hughes has quoted that case when assisting “countless” drivers who have been issued with parking tickets and so far, without fail, the council have dropped every case.
In 2004, following an 18-month inquiry Scarborough Council wa found guilty of maladministration over on-street car parking rules and fines.
The inquiry was launched after Mr Hughes filed a complaint when his daughter was fined £30 for parking in St Thomas Street, and subsequently pursuing her for payment,
Neither action was proper, and despite the Local Government Ombudsman’s ruling that at least 187 of the towns 8,000 parking spaces were improper, seven years later, Mr Hughes has still found what he believes to be faults on some of the busiest roads in Scarborough.
He believes that the reason fines are being issued in Seamer Road as well as roads near The Sands is down to those in charge of the Parking Department not fully understanding the law, as well as the council’s policy of “looking to get easy money out of drivers”.
He also pointed out double yellow lines on Avenue Road aren’t because they have been worn away.
He said: “If they are getting the money from parking, they should be using that money for the upkeep of the roads. If you look at the roads, you can clearly see that’s not the case.”
However, Cllr Andrew Backhouse, who is the council’s cabinet member for environment and transport, states when the council were granted decriminalised parking powers in 2007, they met all of the Department of Transports criteria for legal parking.
He also states that although there has been a reduction in the amount spent on road maintenance recently, this is largely down to the decrease in the amount of tickets issued, which Cllr Backhouse attributes to better compliance from motorists.
Cllr Backhouse also said: “I’m not naive enough to think that everything is perfect, but most of the problems highlighted by Mr Hughes are purely down to wear and tear.”