That’s fine! One in three disputed parking penalties overturned in Manchester

Motorists have reclaimed £1.38million from Manchester City Council over the last four years, as more than a third of all contested city centre parking tickets were overturned.

Figures obtained by MM reveal 543,259 parking fines were issued between 2010 and 2014 but nearly a fifth of drivers chose to dispute their penalty notices.

Of those disputed cases, 37% were successfully overturned – costing the council on average around £350,000 per year.

Alliance of British Drivers spokesman Sean Corker told MM: “It’s a long-standing cause of complaint that councils hand out parking fines hoping a lot of them won’t be challenged. I think this practice is wrong.

“You have to ask where that money is going and how it reflects in the various budgets that the council are making.

“I think they collect far too much money in parking fines and all you’re doing is turning people away from the city centre, making them less likely to go there so it’s a counter-productive way of going about things.”

That £350,000 per year lost from overturned fines doesn’t include the costs of distributing original penalty notices or employing dispute staff and lawyers, making the actual cost of successful appeals most likely much higher.

The number of people contesting fines has increased by 9% over the last four years as many feel aggrieved by the severity of their punishments.

The council collects nearly £20million from parking fines every five years – an average of £3.75million each year.

And city centre parking inspectors issue around 372 fines a day, meaning the council rake in a whopping £13,500 in a typical 24 hours – more than £560 every hour.

Parking campaigner Barrie Segal told MM: “The real problem that the motorist in Britain has is that they have no faith in the integrity of parking enforcement because so much money is involved.

“I’ve been saying this to councils for 12 years – ‘Be more open, be more transparent’, but the lure of money prevents them from doing that.

“Councils often operate on the Wild West system; the first person to blink loses. It’s something of a process of attrition.

“I’ve advised people where they have a good case but the council say ‘No they haven’t’. They have their appeal lodged with the adjudicator and two days before it’s due to be heard the council back down.”

Image courtesy of ell brown, with thanks.

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