Mum takes on council over swathe of tickets

Resident Jenny Bullock from Howard Street at Morpeth is angry at getting four parking tickets from NCC-she has vowed not to pay them.
Resident Jenny Bullock from Howard Street at Morpeth is angry at getting four parking tickets from NCC-she has vowed not to pay them.

A MORPETH woman has vowed to fight four parking fines she picked up outside her home.

Jenny Bullock, of Howard Terrace, had applied for her resident parking permit from Northumberland County Council on May 10, but while she was waiting for it to arrive she received the tickets on May 18 and 19.

She contacted the authority to explain, but this was dismissed and she will soon make an official appeal. If this fails, she will be ordered to pay a total of £220.

Meanwhile, residents are looking to restore the maximum number of permits to three per household after it was reduced to two at the start of the year.

Mrs Bullock did not renew her permit because she was dealing with a range of circumstances, including staying in another part of the country for a time, but on May 7, not long after the council took over the enforcement of on-street parking from Northumbria Police, she received a ticket.

The mother-of-four paid the fine and it prompted her to apply for the permit.

After getting the other tickets she made an informal representation via email and thought this would clear up the matter.

“I assumed it would be ok because I’m a resident and my application was being processed, in fact it probably would have been sent out in the post before I got the four parking tickets as it arrived on Monday 21,” she said.

“I was surprised to get a standard reply simply saying that I wasn’t displaying a valid permit and if I want to contest them I will have to make a formal appeal.

“I felt angry and disappointed because it’s not like we’re trying to get away with anything. I already gave them the cheque.

“The first fine on May 7 was fair enough, but all this is unfair and unnecessary as it could have been dealt with by now. If I have to make a formal appeal, hopefully common sense will prevail.

“I’m really pleased that the wardens are patrolling the streets of Morpeth, but the council should be concentrating on catching non-residents who have been illegally parking in our spaces for years and mainly getting away with it under the old system. Officers should also be treating residents as people instead of just carrying out a process.”

When an informal representation is rejected, a re-offer of a further 14 days to pay the 50 per cent discounted charge is made. If anyone wants to contest the decision, they must wait until a Notice to Owner document has been served and will have 28 days to make a formal representation.

In previous years, householders in parts of Morpeth could apply for up to three permits per property, two for registered vehicles and one visitor permit.

The introduction of a county-wide system in January meant this was reduced to one for a registered vehicle and one visitor permit, although requests for additional permits may be considered at the time of renewal.

Shona Harper, who also lives in Howard Terrace, said: “Most of the families living in this street are two-car households and there are a limited number of resident-only spaces so only having two permits often isn’t enough.

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“The council said the change was due to supply and demand issues, but nothing specific was mentioned in its letter to us.

“Now that the wardens are coming here regularly, there are generally more spaces available and this will hopefully help our case when we ask for additional permits before the annual renewal in November.”

Mrs Bullock added: “We’re prepared to pay for three permits and the current situation means that we sometimes need to park on side streets, which can be inconvenient if you have a lot of shopping or young children with you and it also blocks some space for the residents.”

A petition is being considered to form part of the residents’ submission.

A council spokeswoman said: “The county council appreciates the frustration of the resident involved, but we do make it clear that the permits we issue are valid from the date of issue, not the date the application was received.

“We have advised that we have an appeals procedure for Penalty Charge Notices in which we look at each case on an individual basis and have given instructions on how to submit an appeal.

“As part of the Northumberland Parking Strategy, all resident parking schemes were harmonised from January 1, 2012 to allow two permits per household.

“The county council has said that there may be some flexibility for those schemes which had previously benefited from three permits on the basis of assessing the supply against demand.”