Motorists cough up £500,000 in parking fines

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RULE-BREAKING Wiganers have forked out a staggering £500,000 in parking fines in the last year.

The town hall handed out nearly 20,000 tickets in that time according to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request.

Library Street in Wigan town centre is revealed as the road in the borough with the highest number of parking penalties: a grand total of 1,516.

This was closely followed by The Avenue in Leigh, with 1,114, Wigan Lane with 923, Millgate with 535 and then Hewlett Street with 340.

Library Street, Millgate and Hewlett Street are three of the main roads around the Town Hall in Wigan town centre and provide convenient short-stay pay and display parking for visitors to the town centre.

The Avenue in Leigh and Wigan Lane are both permit areas, which have been introduced following consultation with local residents.

Assistant director of economic development at Wigan Council, Emma Barton, said: “It is important to provide fair and robust enforcement to town centre areas to encourage a turnover of visitors, boost the town’s economy and ensure that delivery routes to businesses are clear.

“The permit schemes in residential areas have been introduced to prevent visitors and workers of both the nearby hospitals parking in residential streets and causing an inconvenience and congestion issues to the local residents of the area.”

The statistics show Wigan Council has raked in more than £2.5m in parking fines since 2010.

This comes after rules on parking changed in 2011 so that motorists have to pay for all on-street parking on Sundays and until 8pm in the evenings.

A spokesman from the local authority said where a council makes a surplus on its on-street parking charges and on-street and off-street enforcement activities, it must use the surplus in accordance with legislation.

They added that any money that is made from parking fines is therefore used by Wigan Council to help make improvements to off-street parking, transport-related projects and environmental schemes.

A report published last year by the House of Commons transport select committee discovered a “deep-rooted perception that local authorities view parking enforcement as a cash cow.”

In response to this the government announced it was considering plans to abolish minimum rates for fines, allowing councils to impose lower charges and to allow a five-minute overlap.