Sheffield council fine with loss of £11k parking money

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MONEY lost by Sheffield Council from written-off parking and bus lane fines has now risen to as much as £30,000 over the last year.

In July, The Star revealed up to £19,460 had been lost over six months because the authority has not complied with appeal rules.

It was forced to cancel 278 tickets where it failed to respond to an appeal within a statutory 56-day deadline.

Now it has emerged that up to £11,000 more has been lost from 157 bus lane and parking fines when appeals were not contested by the council in the year to July.

The fines could each have been worth up to £70 although they would have been worth half as much had they been paid quickly.

At the same time, the council plans to raise £20,000 by introducing car-parking charges in Hillsborough Park, Graves Park and Millhouses Park.

And, to spread the £70,000 cost, the council is taking two years to change 200 on-street meters to take new five and 10p pieces.

Many motorists who do not have old-style coins are currently over-paying for pay-and-display tickets, with the council keeping the extra cash.

But the council says cases were not challenged when officials accepted new evidence supporting appeals, such as in compassionate cases.

Rob Prior, a Broomhill businessman and member of Sheffield Motorists’ Forum, said: “Where there are good reasons for not challenging appeals such as in compassionate cases I think the council is right - however, it is disappointing about the amount lost because of officials not completing paperwork in time.”

Coun Ian Auckland, opposition Lib Dem transport spokesman who revealed the latest statistics, said: “If the council believed the people given these fines were innocent all along – why on earth did they go to the length of taking their cases this far?”

Coun Leigh Bramall, council member for transport, said the reason for appeals against fines being uncontested was mainly due to evidence being made available by the offender contesting their fine.

Recent cases not contested include a man who received a ticket for overstaying in a parking space near Sheffield Children’s Hospital when his sick daughter was having an operation.

Jonathan Fish, of Woodseats, was with his wife Kirsty in the hospital as their six-week-old daughter Matilda was rushed into surgery.

Coun Bramall said: “When mistakes are made, it is right they are corrected when there is evidence people shouldn’t be fined.”

The council blamed the previously-revealed failure to respond to appeals within the 56-day deadline on a new computer system, staff absence due to sickness and an ‘unusually-high number of appeals’.