William Eichler 31 January 2019

Councils must ensure parking fines are issued correctly, Ombudsman says

Councils must ensure parking fines are issued correctly, Ombudsman says image

The local government Ombudsman has urged councils to ensure they are using the correct legislation to issue parking fines at country parks.

The warning follows an investigation by the Local Government and Social Care Ombudsman into Kent County Council after a motorist complained about a penalty charge issued at a country park.

The penalty charge was issued by a contractor at the council-run Lullingstone Country Park.

The contractor told the motorist to pay the charge and then appeal to the council. The motorist did this - only to be told they had lost their right to appeal because they had paid the charge.

The council had made the charge under the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, designed for private land, because it was being enforced by a private contractor.

However, the council should have used a Traffic Regulation Order, under the Traffic Management Act 2004, to issue the charge because the car park was on public land.

‘While councils have every right to charge people for parking at their country parks, and motorists can expect consequences for not paying, councils must ensure they are issuing any parking penalties under the correct process,’ said Ombudsman Michael King.

‘I am pleased Kent County Council has agreed to the recommendations of my report, and would now urge councils across the country to check their own parking charges to ensure all their parking enforcement is lawful.’

Mike Hill, Kent County Council’s cabinet member for community and regulatory services, said the council was ‘disappointed’ with the Ombudsman’s decision.

‘Kent County Council’s legal advice was that our enforcement process was correct,’ he said. ‘However, we have decided to accept the LGO’s decision.’

‘This is not about the right to charge for parking; the issue is about the process used when drivers ignored the parking charge,’ he continued.

‘Our nine country parks are extremely popular with the public and welcome 1.5 million visitors every year. The vast majority of our park users understand that every penny raised through car parking is invested directly back into the parks.

‘Unfortunately, some visitors choose not to pay their Pay and Display, hence the necessity for enforcement.

‘In light of the LGO’s report, the council is continuing to require visitors to Pay and Display and will enforce against any non-payment through alternative processes.’

The council has agreed to pay the motorist £100 for the time and trouble.

Safely into school image

Safely into school

How many plans can be made when it comes to transport to education settings? Liz Davidson reports.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

SEND Operations Assistant

Essex County Council
Up to £12.02 per hour
The SEND Operations Assistant provides administration and support to the statutory SEND processes such as the Annual Review Process, in particular at phase transfer, as well as providing a triage service for all contacts received by the SEND Operations Te England, Essex, Harlow
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Relief Resource Centre Worker - Nidderdale Children's Resource Centre - Award Winning Team

North Yorkshire County Council
£20,493
The role of Relief Resource Centre Worker is invaluable, rewarding, complex and challenging; you will play an... Harrogate, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: North Yorkshire County Council

Specialist Teacher

Birmingham City Council
Main/ Upper Pay Scale + up to full SEN Allowance
This exciting opportunity will be to join a well-established team supporting children and young people with communication and... Birmingham, West Midlands
Recuriter: Birmingham City Council

People Analytics / Workforce Planning Lead

Essex County Council
Negotiable
Job Purpose This role will be responsible for carrying out data extraction, manipulation, research, analysis, and interpretation of data to provide me England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Building Surveyor

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£39774 - £42684 per annum + Essential Car Allowance
Hi All, I'm currently recruiting for this position. Please click on the job title below to view the Job Description and apply to it! England, London, Woolwich
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue