Investigate penalty charges ‘farce’

The council’s appeals procedure has been criticised

The council’s appeals procedure has been criticised

First published in Letters by

THE decision relating to an appeal against a penalty charge notice issued for using Coppergate is a revelation.

In his report, which also covers the Lendal Bridge closure, the adjudicator criticises the adequacy of the signs, the positioning of the cameras and the council’s appeal procedure.

Finally, the adjudicator lands a killer punch where he concludes that as neither Coppergate nor Lendal Bridge are bus lanes, there is no power to issue penalty charge notices using roadside cameras.

Naturally, the councillors concerned, usually quite keen to provide a quote, are unavailable and we are advised that the council will be seeking independent legal advice. Too little, too late.

If this happened in industry a P45 would be issued by the weekend. In similar circumstances many public sector leaders would resign.

No matter what your beliefs, either political or regarding traffic congestion, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the council should, at the very least, announce immediately that the cameras will not be used until the whole sorry mess is sorted out.

There should be a full investigation into the costs of this farce and individuals held to account.

Robert J MacMahon, Hull Road, York.

 

• THE reaction of City of York Council to the findings of the traffic adjudicator shows just what sort of a regime is in power in this city.

Not one ounce of contrition or regret. Not one hint of a recognition of error and certainly no apology. Just an angry denunciation of the report, a commitment to spend more taxpayers’ money to pursue a legal challenge; and a belligerent insistence that fines will continue to be imposed irrespective of what any independent arbiter might say.

Not forgetting that the closure was supposed to be a trial period ending a month ago.

Citizens are being treated with contempt. It is clear the controlling Labour group has already decided Lendal Bridge will stay closed come what may.

It will only open in May next year – when in that month the ballot boxes are dusted off.

Matthew Laverack, Lord Mayor’s Walk, York.

 

• THE Lendal Bridge traffic ban was ill conceived, badly planned and poorly executed. It has created significant traffic congestion in many parts of the city (and, on several occasions, I have seen an ambulance, with blue flashing lights, stuck in a jam which, hitherto, did not exist), damaged tourism and has been injurious to many local businesses.

Following the Aadjudicator’s findings (The Press, April 2), it has been astonishing to hear a senior director of the council say that fines would continue rather than that they would be suspended pending the outcome of the receipt of legal advice and/or an appeal.

Any reasonable person would conclude that if the council cannot empathise with the rule of law, then that approach undermines any legitimacy the scheme ever had; such legitimacy has become a Norwegian Blue parrot – it has ceased to be.

Richard Watson, York Road, Haxby, York.

Comments (7)

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10:35am Thu 3 Apr 14

The Great Buda says...

For once I find myself agreeing with Mr Laverack, Labour have just cost themselves power over this City.
For once I find myself agreeing with Mr Laverack, Labour have just cost themselves power over this City. The Great Buda
  • Score: 26

10:56am Thu 3 Apr 14

Jonothon says...

Come on Matthew. First you spend months telling us that the public sector is all a Marxist conspiracy and they are all in cahoots with one another. Then when it turns out that the system of accountability actually works fairly well you change your tune, but without apologising for getting it wrong in the first place.

If at the end of this continuing process, the Council is vindicated, my bet is that you will revert to your original position.
Come on Matthew. First you spend months telling us that the public sector is all a Marxist conspiracy and they are all in cahoots with one another. Then when it turns out that the system of accountability actually works fairly well you change your tune, but without apologising for getting it wrong in the first place. If at the end of this continuing process, the Council is vindicated, my bet is that you will revert to your original position. Jonothon
  • Score: -19

3:13pm Thu 3 Apr 14

mel_drew says...

Hmm. Must have missed something. Nothing I've read in the last couple of days leads me to think that any of the councillors or officials concerned are acknowledging any sense of accountability. On the contrary, they seem to be keeping a low profile while suggesting that they're about to misspend yet more of our money on a futile appeal process. Someone, believed to be a councillor, referred to the adjudicator as a "middle ranking pen pusher." If they're basing their hopes on that assessment of Mr Rhodes I suspect that they're in for yet another nasty shock.
Hmm. Must have missed something. Nothing I've read in the last couple of days leads me to think that any of the councillors or officials concerned are acknowledging any sense of accountability. On the contrary, they seem to be keeping a low profile while suggesting that they're about to misspend yet more of our money on a futile appeal process. Someone, believed to be a councillor, referred to the adjudicator as a "middle ranking pen pusher." If they're basing their hopes on that assessment of Mr Rhodes I suspect that they're in for yet another nasty shock. mel_drew
  • Score: 23

9:30pm Thu 3 Apr 14

bravo whisky says...

As James Alexander and his crew blunder from one mess to another, all of their own making, they will now be trying to find a way to wheedle out of this one with some dignity, some chance of that, they will all need to find a proper job in the near future.
As James Alexander and his crew blunder from one mess to another, all of their own making, they will now be trying to find a way to wheedle out of this one with some dignity, some chance of that, they will all need to find a proper job in the near future. bravo whisky
  • Score: 12

1:35am Fri 4 Apr 14

Magicman! says...

Ah, and just like that all those who want to drive where and when they want at any time of day crawl out of the woodwork.

Lendal Bridge and Coppergate should be treated as two entirely different schemes. The only reason they got ANPR cameras at the same time is because the council likely got a bulk buy deal!

Coppergate has been closed to private vehicles for somewhere in the region of 20 YEARS during the main trading hours of the day... Why don't we cast our minds back to all the articles in The Press when the police would carry out "a sting operation" and issue fines to people using Coppergate illegally, and just the vast amount of people who got fined within a period of 6 hours. Between 3pm and 5pm, you could look or go along Coppergate and look at all the vehicles in a queue waiting to turn into Nessgate, and off that queue buses would only be making up 40% - the other 55% being private vehicles using the road illegally... and the reason those vehicles were there is because the drivers knew there would be no consequences, and no fines. The ANPR cameras get switched on, the fines start rolling in, and as if by magic the amount of illegal traffic along Coppergate is vastly reduced.

Lendal bridge is a harder one to call simply because whilst the general principle of the closure is good, the entire operation has been botched from the very outset. Firstly, before any closure was put in place any roads that would have been used as the alternative traffic route should have had road and junction improvements undertaken so as to unlock extra capacity; secondly, serious consideration should have been given to making the A1237 between the A59 and A19 dual carriageway first before any closure (even if that was the only part that was dualled, as it'd be the bit crossing the river); and thirdly the signage should have been given better consideration - face-lit signage never has the same effect as an LED-lit aspect... if you go to Manchester and see the 'No Entry' signs by the rising bollards around the Cross Street and Exchange Square area, you will see the entire pictogram of the No Entry sign is lit by red and white LED's - and the sign stands out a mile, far better than any other type of sign I've seen, and even in bright sunshine (which yes is a bit of a rarity in Manchester, but it does occasionally happen!!)... the signs on Museum Street before the bridge should have been a straightforward 'No Entry' sign with an 'except authorised vehicles' exemption plate, and had the pictogram made up entirely by red and white LED's, along with flashing amber aspects such as those you see on school patrol warning signs. And where Bootham Tower is, the sign that faces the exit from Gillygate should not have been a yellow AA Advisory sign, it should have been "Road Ahead Closed" (red and white) complete with an arrow pointing left and a description plate "Lendal Bridge: 10.30am - 5pm"
Ah, and just like that all those who want to drive where and when they want at any time of day crawl out of the woodwork. Lendal Bridge and Coppergate should be treated as two entirely different schemes. The only reason they got ANPR cameras at the same time is because the council likely got a bulk buy deal! Coppergate has been closed to private vehicles for somewhere in the region of 20 YEARS during the main trading hours of the day... Why don't we cast our minds back to all the articles in The Press when the police would carry out "a sting operation" and issue fines to people using Coppergate illegally, and just the vast amount of people who got fined within a period of 6 hours. Between 3pm and 5pm, you could look or go along Coppergate and look at all the vehicles in a queue waiting to turn into Nessgate, and off that queue buses would only be making up 40% - the other 55% being private vehicles using the road illegally... and the reason those vehicles were there is because the drivers knew there would be no consequences, and no fines. The ANPR cameras get switched on, the fines start rolling in, and as if by magic the amount of illegal traffic along Coppergate is vastly reduced. Lendal bridge is a harder one to call simply because whilst the general principle of the closure is good, the entire operation has been botched from the very outset. Firstly, before any closure was put in place any roads that would have been used as the alternative traffic route should have had road and junction improvements undertaken so as to unlock extra capacity; secondly, serious consideration should have been given to making the A1237 between the A59 and A19 dual carriageway first before any closure (even if that was the only part that was dualled, as it'd be the bit crossing the river); and thirdly the signage should have been given better consideration - face-lit signage never has the same effect as an LED-lit aspect... if you go to Manchester and see the 'No Entry' signs by the rising bollards around the Cross Street and Exchange Square area, you will see the entire pictogram of the No Entry sign is lit by red and white LED's - and the sign stands out a mile, far better than any other type of sign I've seen, and even in bright sunshine (which yes is a bit of a rarity in Manchester, but it does occasionally happen!!)... the signs on Museum Street before the bridge should have been a straightforward 'No Entry' sign with an 'except authorised vehicles' exemption plate, and had the pictogram made up entirely by red and white LED's, along with flashing amber aspects such as those you see on school patrol warning signs. And where Bootham Tower is, the sign that faces the exit from Gillygate should not have been a yellow AA Advisory sign, it should have been "Road Ahead Closed" (red and white) complete with an arrow pointing left and a description plate "Lendal Bridge: 10.30am - 5pm" Magicman!
  • Score: -2

10:17am Fri 4 Apr 14

Jonothon says...

Magicman! wrote:
Ah, and just like that all those who want to drive where and when they want at any time of day crawl out of the woodwork.

Lendal Bridge and Coppergate should be treated as two entirely different schemes. The only reason they got ANPR cameras at the same time is because the council likely got a bulk buy deal!

Coppergate has been closed to private vehicles for somewhere in the region of 20 YEARS during the main trading hours of the day... Why don't we cast our minds back to all the articles in The Press when the police would carry out "a sting operation" and issue fines to people using Coppergate illegally, and just the vast amount of people who got fined within a period of 6 hours. Between 3pm and 5pm, you could look or go along Coppergate and look at all the vehicles in a queue waiting to turn into Nessgate, and off that queue buses would only be making up 40% - the other 55% being private vehicles using the road illegally... and the reason those vehicles were there is because the drivers knew there would be no consequences, and no fines. The ANPR cameras get switched on, the fines start rolling in, and as if by magic the amount of illegal traffic along Coppergate is vastly reduced.

Lendal bridge is a harder one to call simply because whilst the general principle of the closure is good, the entire operation has been botched from the very outset. Firstly, before any closure was put in place any roads that would have been used as the alternative traffic route should have had road and junction improvements undertaken so as to unlock extra capacity; secondly, serious consideration should have been given to making the A1237 between the A59 and A19 dual carriageway first before any closure (even if that was the only part that was dualled, as it'd be the bit crossing the river); and thirdly the signage should have been given better consideration - face-lit signage never has the same effect as an LED-lit aspect... if you go to Manchester and see the 'No Entry' signs by the rising bollards around the Cross Street and Exchange Square area, you will see the entire pictogram of the No Entry sign is lit by red and white LED's - and the sign stands out a mile, far better than any other type of sign I've seen, and even in bright sunshine (which yes is a bit of a rarity in Manchester, but it does occasionally happen!!)... the signs on Museum Street before the bridge should have been a straightforward 'No Entry' sign with an 'except authorised vehicles' exemption plate, and had the pictogram made up entirely by red and white LED's, along with flashing amber aspects such as those you see on school patrol warning signs. And where Bootham Tower is, the sign that faces the exit from Gillygate should not have been a yellow AA Advisory sign, it should have been "Road Ahead Closed" (red and white) complete with an arrow pointing left and a description plate "Lendal Bridge: 10.30am - 5pm"
It is refreshing to see a comment that actually sheds some light on the issue
[quote][p][bold]Magicman![/bold] wrote: Ah, and just like that all those who want to drive where and when they want at any time of day crawl out of the woodwork. Lendal Bridge and Coppergate should be treated as two entirely different schemes. The only reason they got ANPR cameras at the same time is because the council likely got a bulk buy deal! Coppergate has been closed to private vehicles for somewhere in the region of 20 YEARS during the main trading hours of the day... Why don't we cast our minds back to all the articles in The Press when the police would carry out "a sting operation" and issue fines to people using Coppergate illegally, and just the vast amount of people who got fined within a period of 6 hours. Between 3pm and 5pm, you could look or go along Coppergate and look at all the vehicles in a queue waiting to turn into Nessgate, and off that queue buses would only be making up 40% - the other 55% being private vehicles using the road illegally... and the reason those vehicles were there is because the drivers knew there would be no consequences, and no fines. The ANPR cameras get switched on, the fines start rolling in, and as if by magic the amount of illegal traffic along Coppergate is vastly reduced. Lendal bridge is a harder one to call simply because whilst the general principle of the closure is good, the entire operation has been botched from the very outset. Firstly, before any closure was put in place any roads that would have been used as the alternative traffic route should have had road and junction improvements undertaken so as to unlock extra capacity; secondly, serious consideration should have been given to making the A1237 between the A59 and A19 dual carriageway first before any closure (even if that was the only part that was dualled, as it'd be the bit crossing the river); and thirdly the signage should have been given better consideration - face-lit signage never has the same effect as an LED-lit aspect... if you go to Manchester and see the 'No Entry' signs by the rising bollards around the Cross Street and Exchange Square area, you will see the entire pictogram of the No Entry sign is lit by red and white LED's - and the sign stands out a mile, far better than any other type of sign I've seen, and even in bright sunshine (which yes is a bit of a rarity in Manchester, but it does occasionally happen!!)... the signs on Museum Street before the bridge should have been a straightforward 'No Entry' sign with an 'except authorised vehicles' exemption plate, and had the pictogram made up entirely by red and white LED's, along with flashing amber aspects such as those you see on school patrol warning signs. And where Bootham Tower is, the sign that faces the exit from Gillygate should not have been a yellow AA Advisory sign, it should have been "Road Ahead Closed" (red and white) complete with an arrow pointing left and a description plate "Lendal Bridge: 10.30am - 5pm"[/p][/quote]It is refreshing to see a comment that actually sheds some light on the issue Jonothon
  • Score: 0

11:48am Fri 4 Apr 14

Sage9 says...

To be fair, I have not seen any suggestion that Coppergate should be reopened. The comments about Manchester may well be well made. Their neon lights may look very impressive but based on other planning decisions York Council should not get permission to put such signs up.
To be fair, I have not seen any suggestion that Coppergate should be reopened. The comments about Manchester may well be well made. Their neon lights may look very impressive but based on other planning decisions York Council should not get permission to put such signs up. Sage9
  • Score: 0

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