Officials’ fine mess on Sheffield parking appeals

Sheffield Council has been forced to cancel 278 parking tickets
Sheffield Council has been forced to cancel 278 parking tickets

PARKING tickets worth up to £20,000 have been written off by Sheffield Council over the last six months because the authority has not complied with appeal rules.

The authority has been forced to cancel 278 tickets where it failed to respond to an appeal within a statutory 56-day deadline.

Sheffield Council has blamed the problem on a new computer system, staff absence due to sickness and an ‘unusually-high number of appeals’.

But Winnie Smith, of Arbourthorne Tenants’ and Residents’ Association, said: “They are just making excuses.

“The money lost could have been used for all sorts of things.”

The tickets were each worth £25 to £35 in fines if paid within two weeks of being issued or after an appeal has been lost, otherwise up to £70.

Lost fines could equate to as much as £19,460, although it would probably be less because some of the appeals could have been won by motorists challenging their fines.

Mac Millard, aged 76, a retired postman from Longley and former member of Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, said: “It’s incompetence. I was at St Mary’s Church for an event and noticed a parking warden outside issuing 24 tickets in five minutes. It was like it was his birthday.

“Maybe the council should give people warning notices for less serious offences and only issue fines for the worst cases. That way they would have fewer appeals and be able to cope with the paperwork.”

Coun Ian Auckland, Lib Dem opposition transport spokesman ,who obtained the figures, said: “How can you trust a council to run your bin and bus service, if they can’t even reply to a letter within 56 days?”

But Coun Leigh Bramall, cabinet member for transport, said: “The main causes of the delay in dealing with appeals was introduction of a new computer system for dealing with penalty charges and people on sickness absence, combined with an unusually high number of appeals.

“We have dealt with these issues and now meet all statutory targets for appeals.”