£200k parking ticket loss

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Wigan Council lost almost £200,000 over the last three years from unpaid parking tickets.

Figures released under Freedom of Information rules revealed that between 2013 and 2015, the total of Parking Charge Notice (PCN) which were written off amounted to £199,858 - but the authority has managed to achieve a dramatic fall in outstanding payments, from £88,305 in 2013 to £28,745 last year.

In 2015, 10 per cent of PCNs were currently open and unpaid, resulting in £28,745 cancelled or written off at the stage where a warrant to attend court is issued.

A total of 4,145 PCNs were successfully overturned by the council following an appeal by motorists.

But £482,310 was collected from drivers who had parked illegally, which included 1,283 notices for parking in disabled bays.

Five vehicles registered to Wigan Council through the DVLA had been issued PCNs, but all five had been rescinded following an appeal.

Similarly, two authority cars received parking tickets in 2013 but were later revoked.

The number of unpaid PCNs was 252 in 2014, equating to only one per cent of its 19,595 PCNs issued, but the sum of cancelled and written off charges stood at £82,808.

A total of 4,247 tickets were overturned and £559,291 was paid. The number of PCNs given due to people parking in disabled spots was 1,444.

The year prior to that, in 2013, £88,305 was outstanding from unpaid fines that had to be abandoned due to spiralling enforcement costs.

A total of £527,565 was obtained through valid PCNs, with 5,144 tickets thrown out following appeal.

A spokesman for Wigan Council said that the unpaid fines was not a rolling figure and stood as a 12-month total.

Earlier this year, the Evening Post reported that Wigan Council was in the top third of authorities making gains from parking charges and punishments, standing 118th out of 353 areas, as it made £1.4m profit in 2014/15.

Those figures, from the RAC Foundation, were calculated by taking income from parking charges and penalty notices, then deducting running costs. The rise in profits is accounted for by an increase in parking income rather than a reduction in running costs (which were in line with the previous financial year).

Emma Barton, Wigan Council’s assistant director for economic development, said: “Having parking regulations is important to help support our town centre businesses as well as enable residents to park near their homes.

“It’s therefore important that drivers obey the rules and pay for the time they are parked.

“We believe our parking fees are fair and for our budget for 2016/17 parking charges have once again been frozen in order to support residents and our town centre businesses.

“We aim to collect all monies owed to us through penalty charge notices to protect the public purse and will only write a case off if there is absolutely no way of collecting the debt at bailiff stage.

“It’s also worth noting that the current figures owed for 2015 will ultimately be lower due to enforcement action being ongoing for this period.”