Tuesday 27th February 2024,
North Yorks Enquirer

Whitby Parking Blunder

Whitby Parking Blunder

  • – an “In My View” article by NIGEL WARD, highlighting a calamitous parking loophole in Whitby’s Church Street off-street Long Stay Car Park. One wonders why no local Abbey Ward or Streonshalh Councillor in the immediate neighbourhood seems to have spotted this one. Hopefully, those Councillors will find this article of educational value . . .

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North Yorkshire Council (NYC) is presently under enormous administrative pressure arising from inheriting differing protocols for Planning, Parking and other regulatory duties from each of the seven former District/Borough Councils.

In today’s article, I propose to re-examine a ‘jar of worms’ that NYC has inherited from Scarborough Borough Council (SBC), where flaws in Traffic Regulation Orders, Tariffs, Penalty Charge Notices and signage regulations (TSRGD) have often been revealed by the Enquirer over a period of many years.

The signage for Parking in the NYC off-street Long Stay Car Park on Church Street, Whitby, North Yorkshire, is shown above.

One wonders whether NYC is even aware of a monumental clanger in the Tariff signage at the Church Street Car Park, located here:

Tariffs

A Tariff is a rate schedule of fees published by a regulated entity for its services. In addition to a rate schedule, listing charges and fees for each service, tariffs also include the terms and conditions (T&Cs) for the service provided and a form of service agreement.

In simple language, a Tariff is a schedule of prices for the sale or rental of a product or service.

Motorists and other vehicle-users are advised to review the “Statutory guidance for local authorities in England on civil enforcement of parking contraventions”.

Examining the Tariff displayed adjacent to the Pay-&-Display unit in Church Street car park, we see the following fees set out in relation to length of stay. (The column on the left is the standard Tariff, without reductions for residents or the disabled):

Clearly, no charge is indicated for either 2 hours or 4 hours.

This means that Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued to motorists (and motor-cyclists) parking for longer than the 1 hour Tariff but less than the 3 hour Tariff, for which NO CHARGE IS SPECIFIED, are not enforceable.

Similarly, PCNs issued to motorists parking for longer than the 3 hour Tariff but less than the 6 hour Tariff, for which NO CHARGE IS SPECIFIED, are also not enforceable.

This is an inexcusable error on the part of the SBC parking regulators, subsequently adopted by NYC as of 1st April 2023.

And it is compounded by the fact that, in the absence of irrefutable evidence (which the Council must produce to the Tribunal in the event of a challenge), that the motorist exceeded (a) the 1 hour period but did not encroach into the 3 hour period, or (b) exceeded the 3 hour period but did not encroach into the 6 hour plus period, then enforcement is virtually impossible – because the time of arrival and departure of every vehicle would need to be irrefutably evidenced.

In other words, NYC has inherited a monumental clanger from SBC. One of many.

My purpose in highlighting this administrative error is not to encourage vehicle-users to deprive North Yorkshire Council of much-needed revenue (heaven knows, the unanticipated budgetary shortfalls are calamitous enough), but to draw vehicle-users’ attention to the importance of holding local authorities to account.

Many Enquirer readers will recall the appalling mismanagement by City of York Council over inadequate signage on the approaches to Lendal Bridge when, according to this Daily Mail article, £1.8 million had to be repaid:

But I am certainly no expert on parking regulations.

Short of calling in Britain’s pre-eminent parking expert, Nick ‘Mr Loophole’ Freeman, I turned to my friend and colleague Andy STRANGEWAY, parking campaigner extraordinaire, whose exploits in the world of PCN challenge are almost as famous.

Here is Andy’s assessment and challenge:

Since May 2023, Ms Charlotte GRAYSHON is NYC’s Parking Enforcement Manager.

Andy would be happy to advise her, going foward . . .

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