Norwich parking tickets net �640,000

Dan GrimmerMore than �640,000 was collected by slapping parking tickets on drivers on the streets of Norwich last year, new figures have revealed - which also show it is getting tougher to overturn them.Dan Grimmer

More than �640,000 was collected by slapping parking tickets on drivers on the streets of Norwich last year, new figures have revealed - which also show it is getting tougher to overturn them.

The increase came despite a blunder which saw the city council forced to suspend the issue ot parking tickets in some Norwich streets because of a lack of signs warning of restrictions.

There were 26,735 penalty charges notices issued between March 2009 and April 2010, which was actually down on the 27,154 issued in the previous 12 months, but the amount the city council was paid rose from �637,672 to �640,945.

Officers say the increase was due partially to 'more robust procedures' which meant the percentage of people successfully appealing against the fines fell dramatically.

Last year just 4,963 drivers (18pc) managed to get the notice waived, compared to 7,107 (26pc) the previous year.

A report which will go before members of the Norwich highways agency joint committee next week, states: 'In comparing the data between 2008/09 and 2009/10, one can see that the number of waivers has decreased significantly from 26pc to 18pc of notices issued.

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'This implies an increasingly robust system and is in spite of a need to waive penalty notices due to a signing anomaly earlier in the year.

'In addition, the number of penalty charge notices paid has increased as a percentage year on year from 68pc to 72pc. The total number of penalty charge notices issued remains little changed.'

Brian Morrey, the city council's executive member for sustainable city development, said there was nothing suspicious about the drop in people successfully getting tickets waived.

He said: 'I think that has been a problem nationally, because there have been different guidelines about when you should and shouldn't be able to get a ticket waived. I think all that has happened is that we have tightened up.'

There are two tiers for penalty notices. The most severe offences include parking on double yellow lines or in a disabled space without having a disabled badge. Such offences carry a �70 fine.

The lower level offences, such as staying in a paid for parking space beyond the allotted time, carry a fine of �50. Both can be reduced by 50pc if the fine is paid within 14 days.

The Evening News revealed in March, about 'the signing anomaly' which meant the council had to suspend the issue of penalty notices on a number of city streets.

The council would not reveal which streets were affected by the problems, claiming it could lead to ppeople taking advantage of the situation to park unsafely.

In total the council received just under �1.63m in parking related income in 2009/10. As well as penalty notices that included �572.099 from on-street parking fees and �356,025 from parking permits.

Taken all together that meant income was down about �22,000 on last year, while around �1.56m was spent on wages, maintenance and signage, leaving a �66,000 surplus, down �100,000 on the previous year.

Councils are not meant to use parking enforcement to raise revenue and guidance makes clear councils should pump the money raised back into the service to ensure they can continue.

In January the Evening News revealed how Prince of Wales Road in Norwich was the street where the most money was collected from parking fines.

Figures showed the city council collected more than �30,000 from Prince of Wales Road over a 12 month period, the vast majority on weekend nights.

In total 697 tickets were issued on the road making it the second most ticketed in Norwich behind Colegate, which sparked anger from nightlcub bosses who claimed enforcement officers targeted clubland for 'easy money'.

Do you think the penalty charge notice system is fair? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich NR1 1RE or email