Call for parking penalty fees to be used for free spaces

MOTORISTS around Bognor Regis have been issued with parking penalties worth more than £100,000 in six months.

The penalty charge income has been paid by drivers who have been issued with penalty charge notices for parking illegally.

It has generated a surplus of about £45,000 for Arun and West Sussex councils.

Parking campaigners have called for the money to be spent extending the town’s free parking scheme.

Civic society deputy chairman Hugh Coster said: “This is an ideal opportunity to give the motorists of Bognor an early Christmas gift.

“What better way to spend the money from parking notices on more ground-level spaces in the town just as the scheme’s second year started last Saturday?

“We have always called for Bognor to have the same number of free ground-level parking spaces as Littlehampton. But at the moment it’s 66 against 382 to make Bognor’s scheme second rate in comparision.”

Kevin Basford, Arun District Council’s head of contracts and environment, told its cabinet members last week: “The civil enforcement officer deployment has been in priority areas and ‘historic intelligence-led’ alongside successful reactive or targeted deployment in response to complaints or local intelligence provided.”

He said the value of parking charges notices issued around the district was just over £227,000 between last April and last October.

This covered the first period of a new contract with NSL Services for the officers.

The contract, with the council providing all the support for the officers, had been a success, he said.

It had seen six officers regularly out and about. An extra officer joined them in the summer, compared to just one or two officers on duty at times under the previous contract.

There was a total of 9,140 penalty charge notices issued by the current officers in the six months.

Appeals were made for 1,804 of them. Of those, 1,287 ofthem were accepted to give a cancellation rate of about 14 per cent.

Most of the cancellations came from proof of a valid ticket or a disabled badge. Just 32 came from officer mistakes.

Arun added the task of issuing tickets for on-street parking just over two years ago to those issued in car parks. It took on the responsibility for West Sussex County Council in a change which abolished traffic wardens