City's parking fines less than expected

SHAUN LOWTHORPE Road schemes around Norwich could face delays after it emerged that the city council was facing a £300,000 shortfall in parking fines income.

SHAUN LOWTHORPE

Road schemes around Norwich could face delays after it emerged that the city council was facing a £300,000 shortfall in parking fines income.

City Hall, which employs 29 parking attendants, originally forecast £400,000 in takings for the last financial year.

But the latest estimates suggest the final figure will be £110,000, prompting fears that the drop will hit transport projects.

Last year it emerged the authority had been issuing illegal fines after failing to display the correct information on its parking tickets.

The council was forced to act after receiving guidance from the National Parking Adjudication Service following a legal challenge to fines issued in the London Borough of Brent.

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The judicial review hearing ruled the council's failure to state clearly the date on which a ticket was issued and the date of offence meant the ticket was void.

And while it was originally thought the blunder would cost the city council around £75,000, the shortfall appears to be much greater.

Under a deal between the city and county councils, any money raised is handed to the county and ploughed back into the Norwich Area Trasport Strategy (Nats).

Transport chiefs have allocated the expected profits to pay for improvements to the inner ring road roundabouts and upgraded pedestrian and cycling facilities as well as detailed planning work for the proposed northern bypass.

Conservative county councillor Adrian Gunson, who called for the investigation to set out what happened, said the shortfall should have been picked up much earlier and reported to councillors.

“Where has the money gone,” he said. “Instead of getting £400,000, we will be getting a quarter of that - that's bound to have an impact.

“I'm very disappointed. The figures have been running adrift for months. What has happened? All we have been told is that they haven't got as much money.

“If the money isn't forthcoming we shall have to reduce the amount being spent. I think that's quite serious and we should have been told about it sooner.”

A city council spokeswoman said officers were preparing a report on the issue, which will be presented to councillors in July.

“Norwich City Council has collected less revenue from on-street parking this year than in previous years,” she said. “This is due to a variety of reasons, including some of the tickets issued having to be waived due to the wording and better compliance from drivers.”

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