The ‘Evening Standard’ reports;
“Britain’s wealthiest parking authority has been accused of a £1 million “rip-off” of its residents.
Westminster council, which was forced to scrap night-time parking charges, has issued thousands of tickets to locals who breached the small print of their parking permits by failing to display an up-to-date road tax disc.
Many of the 7,300 motorists ticketed in the residents’ parking bays had renewed their road tax but had not got round to putting the disc in the windscreen. In a landmark ruling, London’s parking adjudicator said the council was wrong to swoop on the bays.
His report also said Westminster was encroaching on police powers by “seeking to enforce civil parking contraventions because of a breach (potential or actual) of the criminal law”.
Fines totalling £949,000 were issued between January 2012 and June 2013.
In his annual report on parking disputes, adjudicator Alistair McFarlane told Westminster they should instead have let motorists off with a warning to display the tax disc.
Campaigner Paul Pearson from penaltychargenotice.co.uk said: “This is a rip-off and just another example of how councils are abusing their powers on parking enforcement.”
One resident, Geoffrey Barraclough, was fined seven times while using the residents’ parking bay outside his home in Maida Vale. He said: “I was mystified … Westminster are looking for spurious grounds to fine people.”
Westminster makes £37 million a year from parking charges. The council rescinded Mr Barraclough’s tickets after he appealed, but it has not paid back all the victims. And it insists that “only roadworthy vehicles are permitted to park on its roads”.
Last month Westminster refunded 5,000 tickets issued to drivers who parked in “confusing” dual use bays.
Paper tax discs will be scrapped next year, with drivers registering online.”