Scarborough parking schemes have been labelled ‘unenforceable’ in a dramatic decision by an inspector that could lead to millions of pounds in fines having to be repaid from many years.
A campaigning resident and his daughter have just successfully challenged two parking tickets for leaving a car outside his home in Candler Street without a permit.
The case hinges on how disc zones and the residents’ parking zones in Scarborough are displayed.
In a damning judgement that could have widespread and costly repercussions , adjudicator Maggie Kennedy of the independent Traffic Penalty Tribunal ruled in favour of Tim Thorne and said his fines must be paid back.
The complicated nature of local parking enforcement means that Scarborough Council administers and enforces parking in the town on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, which is understood to be the authority that would pick up a potential refund tab.
She wrote: “I am reluctant to condemn a large scheme, where there would be inevitable expense upon the council were they ultimately required to amend it.
“But on my analysis it is, not to put too fine a point on it, an inelegant mess.
“I doubt the Thornes were caused any genuine confusion but they were entitled to call the council to account over the working and signing of this scheme.
“Whilst on each occasion they parked without either a disc or a permit in presumably deliberate defiance of the sign in place outside their house, I agree with them that the overall Disc Zone is inadequately marked and consequently unenforceable.
“The individual bay signs do not reflect the Traffic Regulation Order and the requirement to display either a disc or a resident’s permit is also unenforceable.”
Mr Thorne, who was assisted and represented by his newly-qualified solicitor daughter Laura in the case, told The Scarborough News that the situation could be similar to that of Lendal Bridge in York, where the council was eventually forced to repay drivers due to inadequate signage.
He said: “According to some 2014 figures, Scarborough makes £1.7 million a year from Penalty Charge Notices , 75 to 80 per cent of Penalty Charge Notices are issued in on-street areas. If they have to repay and depending on how far it goes back, it could cost more than £10 million.
“Given that the same signage is in use in Whitby, Harrogate and Knaresborough, those Disc Zones are very likely to be unenforceable too.”
However, North Yorkshire County Council said it believed there was no problem with the signs despite the judgement in Mr Thorne’s favour.
A spokesman said: “North Yorkshire County Council maintains the view that the Scarborough residents’ parking scheme complies with the relevant legislation. We are now in the process of reviewing the adjudicator’s decision.”
Mr Thorne has now had 10 tickets overturned in total and said that he intends to run in next year’s county council elections in order to try to effect change from inside the authority.
North Yorkshire County Councillor Sam Cross (UKIP) said the ruling was an early Christmas present for motorists.
He said: “Christmas has come early.
“If you have been given a parking ticket in one of the town’s many disc zones, get onto the council and claim your money back.
“This could end up costing a fortune – questions need to be asked about how this was allowed to happen.”