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Traffic Regulation Orders and off street residents parking

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Hi, i have a few questions regarding TRO's and off street residents parking bays and was wondering if anyone could help.

 

Can a local council charge for off street residents parking bays without a TRO being in place?

 

If so, can the council employ parking enforcement agents to issue parking tickets for vehicles not displaying a valid permit issued for the residents bays? And can this enforcement agent obtain vehicle owner details from the DVLA to enforce the ticket?

 

If no TRO is in place, would the council and or enforcement agent be breaking the Data Protection Act by having no authority to obtain vehicle owner details from the DVLA?

 

I have tried to read up on this, but can't really find any information. I'm planning to challenge my London council on the way it operates it's off-street resident parking and just want to be sure of my facts, as I believe they have been operating without a TRO for years and have only just put one in place.

 

Any advice would be very much appreciated

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Hello there.

 

I've moved your thread to the local authority parking forum, where people should be able to help you, and left you a link to follow from private parking companies.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Ok thanks. Sorry thought i I'd put it in the general topic heading.

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That's OK. :) We split the parking forum a while back, maybe you haven't seen the new one before.

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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Your questions require a quite in-depth knowledge of the way the law works so I won't pretend that I know everything. However I know enough to give you my considered view:

 

Can a local council charge for off street residents parking bays without a TRO being in place?

 

What do you mean by "charge for ... bays"? Do you mean charge for a permit? Or charge in the form of Penalty Charges?

 

If you mean charge for a permit, yes they can, but can't enforce PCNs in a location which doesn't have a TRO. Actually, I think we are talking about an off-street parking order rather than a traffic regulation order, but it doesn't change the issue you raise. If they don't have authority to enforce, there's no need for you or anyone to buy one of their permits.

 

If you mean can they issue Penalty Charges, again the answer is yes, but you can have them rescinded on appeal as a matter of course. A complaint to the council or local government ombudsmen is likely to make them get their legalities in order.

 

If so, can the council employ parking enforcement agents to issue parking tickets for vehicles not displaying a valid permit issued for the residents bays? And can this enforcement agent obtain vehicle owner details from the DVLA to enforce the ticket?

 

Yes, and yes, but you can successfully appeal against them and complain about the matter to force them to resolve the TRO issue. Only if you knew them to be deliberately acting beyond their authority, for example trying to enforce an area they have no right to, would this start to become a more serious legal matter. But as I understand it, the Council is supposed to have authority there, and presumably believes it does - so it can follow normal protocols until you pick them up and challenge them.

 

If no TRO is in place, would the council and or enforcement agent be breaking the Data Protection Act by having no authority to obtain vehicle owner details from the DVLA?

 

No - as per my previous comment, provided it's not a deliberate act to exceed their known powers.

 

Out of interest, why do you believe they are operating without a TRO? If you ask them for a copy they will send it to you - so you will know if they have one. Whether it's valid or not... let's see.

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Hi jamberson; thanks for the reply.

 

I've read through parts of the road traffic act 1984 and find it difficult to interpretate with regards to off street council run resident parking bays/permits. My interpretation is that any parking ticket issued without a TRO is not enforceable which you've now also confirmed. I am also trying to establish that If the council is made aware it did not have the correct legisaltion in place when employing enforcement agents to pursue payments of illegally issued parking tickets, can they be forced to repay any money obtained as a result of these parking tickets? I guess this is a bit of a big question.

 

I also want to challenge the charges being set for residents to park in the bays which I believe to be excessive. The council has increased these charges for off street resident petmits over the years without any justification. My understanding is that resident parking fees cannot be increased if the reason for the increase is to cover non road or transport activities, which is what I suspect the increases are being used for.

 

The particular London council I'm referring to has handed over the managing of the off street parking bays to a Tenant Management Association. There are a number of issues with how they have run the parking over the years. I have recently contacted them to ask for the legislation used to run and enforce the permit scheme as well as the costs of running the scheme and how much money they obtain each year as a result of the scheme. All of this information should be freely available but it's not. The Tennent management Association would not give me the information and then told me they could only give me the information under a Freedom of Information request, which i didn't think was right, but submitted one anyway. The response to my FOI request was not very clear and after a number of emails back and forth I was told they had no legisaltion for the resident bays and didn't know how much the scheme cost to run or how much income they received each year from the scheme. I was also advised that they did not know if they had a seperate bank account for parking income. I've now taken this up directly with the council and am waiting a response. But from what I've seen all the published parking legisaltion on the councils website relates solely to on street resident parking bays/permits and no reference is made to off street parking bays/permits.

 

I hope this doesn't sound too confusing.

 

My query regarding the Data Protection Act relates to the fact that the council or employed enforcement agents were obtaining vehicle ownership details under legislation they had no right to quote or use. Therfore, could that not be classed as a breach of personal data by using false means? Or would that not matter?

 

I appreciate these are quit in depth questions but any help would be a big help.

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I've read through parts of the road traffic act 1984 and find it difficult to interpretate with regards to off street council run resident parking bays/permits.

 

You may find the relevant legislation in the 2004 Traffic Management Act. Don't know if you've looked into that at all, but it tends to supercede the older legislation.

 

My interpretation is that any parking ticket issued without a TRO is not enforceable which you've now also confirmed. I am also trying to establish that If the council is made aware it did not have the correct legisaltion in place when employing enforcement agents to pursue payments of illegally issued parking tickets, can they be forced to repay any money obtained as a result of these parking tickets? I guess this is a bit of a big question.

 

If they have not followed legislation correctly, and are made aware retrospectively, I would think that anyone left out of pocket could bring proceedings for their money back if they wanted. I doubt there would be a mechanism for forcing the council to go and find everyone and hand back all of the payments - and to be honest, would you want that just because some paperwork wasn't written up correctly? It could run into millions, and councils are impoverished anyway and struggling to provide basic services.

 

I would also point out that in many cases - I don't know how many, but I'd guess at least half - the council don't even know the identity of the person who paid the PCN. They just send in a cheque or hand over cash at a till and no records are kept of the payer's details. They aren't necesarily the owner of the car, and moreover the council has no keeper details on anything paid prior to a Notice to Owner.

 

I also want to challenge the charges being set for residents to park in the bays which I believe to be excessive. The council has increased these charges for off street resident petmits over the years without any justification. My understanding is that resident parking fees cannot be increased if the reason for the increase is to cover non road or transport activities, which is what I suspect the increases are being used for.

 

Most resident parking schemes run at a loss. The councils make their money from the PCNs, not the sale of permits. You can ask your council for income and expenditure figures for their resident parking schemes - FOI if necessary.

 

The particular London council I'm referring to has handed over the managing of the off street parking bays to a Tenant Management Association. There are a number of issues with how they have run the parking over the years. I have recently contacted them to ask for the legislation used to run and enforce the permit scheme as well as the costs of running the scheme and how much money they obtain each year as a result of the scheme. All of this information should be freely available but it's not. The Tennent management Association would not give me the information and then told me they could only give me the information under a Freedom of Information request, which i didn't think was right, but submitted one anyway. The response to my FOI request was not very clear and after a number of emails back and forth I was told they had no legisaltion for the resident bays and didn't know how much the scheme cost to run or how much income they received each year from the scheme. I was also advised that they did not know if they had a seperate bank account for parking income. I've now taken this up directly with the council and am waiting a response. But from what I've seen all the published parking legisaltion on the councils website relates solely to on street resident parking bays/permits and no reference is made to off street parking bays/permits.

 

This is complicated because their is a third party involved. What is the relationship between the Tenant Management Association and the council? Are they contracted just to enforce, or do they have some deeper interest in the scheme? Are PCNs being issued on behalf of the council, or by a private company? The council may have the answers you need - wait and see what they say.

 

My query regarding the Data Protection Act relates to the fact that the council or employed enforcement agents were obtaining vehicle ownership details under legislation they had no right to quote or use. Therfore, could that not be classed as a breach of personal data by using false means? Or would that not matter?

 

Possibly. My point is that they do have a right to use that legislation, assuming all parties are acting in good faith. If it can be established now that they did not have the legal authority to invoke their DPA powers, then someone would probably get disciplined and the paperwork re-drawn, but I am extremely doubtful there would be any consequences other than for the staff involved not having done their jobs properly. What outcome would you want from pursuing this line of argument?

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Thanks for the reply jamberson.

 

I guess with the data protection issue I'm trying to make this Tenant Management Organisation wake up to the fact that they have to operate within the law. The parking issue is just one of a long list of issues I have had with the Organisation. They have even given conflicting information when questioned about the parking under Freedom of Information Act. It's almost as if they don't care and think they are above the law. *I also do not believe this scheme costs more to run than it makes. Information obtained showed it made over £700k in 2013 for managing 870 off street parking bays. They constantly increase the annual fee for one of these bays which currently stands at £270. However, I'm hoping the council will be able to clarify this

Edited by honeybee13

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I've merged your last two posts to keep the flow of the thread going. :)

 

HB


Illegitimi non carborundum

 

 

 

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I also do not believe this scheme costs more to run than it makes. Information obtained showed it made over £700k in 2013 for managing 870 off street parking bays. They constantly increase the annual fee for one of these bays which currently stands at £270. However, I'm hoping the council will be able to clarify this

 

They would have to sell 2,592 permits per year at £270 each to bring in £700k. Even if it were all profit, that seems pretty unlikely. I think maybe the council will provide different stats.

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It is section 35 of the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that enables a council to regulate by order off street parking places.

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1984/27/section/35

 

If an order is made then any enforcement must be pursuant to the Traffic Management Act 2004 by virtue of Schedule 7 Paragraph 3(2)(d).

 

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2004/18/schedule/7

 

This would mean that Penalty Charge Notices are served and a 3 stage appeal process can be accessed.

 

Some councils that provide "off street" parking for residents have historically done so outside of the RTRA 1984 and applied contract law. This sounds like what is happening here. However, there was a letter issued by the Under Secredtary of State for the DfT advising that councils should not enforce any parking land using contract law and doing so was considered dodgy. See letter.

Robert Goodwill MP letter to parking managers.pdf

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