Motorists given 27,000 parking tickets

MORE than 27,000 motorists have been given parking tickets in Ipswich over the last two years, The Evening Star can reveal today.

MORE than 27,000 motorists have been given parking tickets in Ipswich over the last two years, The Evening Star can reveal today.

The figure is equivalent to one in five of the borough's population falling foul of parking regulations.

A total of 27,269 tickets were dished out in the town during 2007 and 2008.

This equates to an average of 1,136 drivers being given penalty notices every month, although the number rose for January this year when 1,422 errant motorists had tickets slapped on their windscreens.

Using the smallest possible fine of �25 as a yardstick, the minimum total of all the tickets for the last two years would come to �68,172, although the figure is likely to be well in excess of this.

Ipswich Borough Council, which has responsibility for ensuring parking laws are enforced, stressed the money collected is ploughed back into public services and goes towards the provision transport services in the town.

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The council's head of transport added it was vital for other road users that vehicles do not park illegally.

Councillor Paul West, transport and highways service portfolio holder for the council, said: "It is important for everyone's safety and to keep traffic moving around the town.

“We need to remember that the vast majority of people park responsibly and that we have a lot of parking facilities throughout the town centre, both on and off the road.”

However, a leading campaign group on behalf of the public believes parking fines are being too readily used as a source of extra revenue for councils.

Mark Wallace, campaign director of the Taxpayers Alliance, said: “I think people are increasingly concerned that the speed at which councils' income from parking fines is growing is a sign that they are using it as a revenue stream rather than some tool of justice. Most people are naturally uncomfortable about the idea that they are being used as a cash cow.”

A delayed payment would see the price of a �25 ticket - for transgressions such as car park overstays or having no parking ticket - rise to �50 if it had not been paid within 14 days.

However, parking on double yellow lines or where a vehicle is deemed to be dangerous carries a �35 penalty, which rises to �70 if the money is still outstanding after two weeks.

Currently Ipswich has 15 civil enforcement officers responsible for ensuring people are not parked illegally.

The borough council said their working hours covered 6am until 10pm, seven days a week.

The figures, released after a Freedom of Information request, show the number of parking tickets issued last year rose to 13,688. This was slightly up from 2007 when 13,581 penalty notices issued.

Only 21 of last year's fines were challenged through appeals to the National Parking Adjudication Service or the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. Of those 13 were won by the appellant.

In 2007, 26 tickets were the subject of appeals, resulting in only 11 penalty notices being overturned.