Coventry City Council has been accused of “taking advantage of motorists” after issuing fines to drivers who parked in the city centre despite signage warning of no-parking rules being removed.
A restricted parking zone (RPZ) that covers the city centre makes on-street parking illegal within the defined area without the requirement of double yellow lines, but the Department for Transport (DfT) stipulates that signage to warn unbeknownst motorists must be present.
Though the intention of a RPZ is above board, to enhance the environment by removing visually intrusive double yellow line road markings, their use without signage would appear disingenuous and confusing to motorists.
As the outlined in chapter 3 of DfT’s traffic signs manual, “Drivers need to be alerted to the fact that they are entering a special area where there is a prohibition of waiting without yellow lines.”
Pepper Lane, behind the restaurant quarter at Cathedral Lanes, has been pointed out as an area where signage was removed due to resurfacing works some weeks ago.
Works concluded and the road reopened on November 6, but signage to warn against parking on the road has not been replaced, despite DfT recommending that signage should be “strategically placed so that where drivers might be tempted to stop, they can see a sign.”
Given that Coventry Cathedral is playing host to an outdoor ice skating rink, parking in the area is thought to have increased as families descend on the area.
Though, a City Council spokesperson revealed only two warning notices had been issued to motorists parking illegally on Pepper Lane, both of which were “subsequently cancelled.”
However, no information was available on parking fines elsewhere in the city centre where signage is missing.
Warwick Street, beside Coventry Railway Station, is another area missing no-parking signs after contractors removed outbound signage some time ago during works in the area, while the inbound signage was recently damaged by a vehicle.
The City Council said it was made aware of the missing signage on December 17, and that new signs have been ordered and are in the process of being replaced.
Precedent exists to indicate the City Council have history on the issue; in 2018, the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, the public body that decides motorists’ appeals against parking fines, ruled Coventry’s scheme was “inadequate” and that residents had been wrongly fined.
In the year 2018/19, 500 motor vehicle related fines were appealed by Coventry residents, of which 471 were successful.
Interestingly, this compares unfavourably to neighbouring Birmingham, a far larger city that handed out almost triple the number of fines yet only 350 resident appeals were successful.
One reader conveniently pointed out, “Without signage, any penalty notices issued on the roads in question are unenforceable, the appeals body will throw out the fine.
“The council have effectively created a FPZ – free parking zone.” Though this should not be taken as legal advice.
Those seeking safe free parking would be wise to make use of the free parking on offer at all City Council-owned locations until midnight on December 26.
Commenting on missing signage to warn of the RPZ, a Coventry City Council spokesperson told the Coventry Times that “signage is checked on a regular basis by the Civil Enforcement Officers and missing or damaged signs are replaced as soon as is possible to ensure that motorists are not unfairly penalised.”