|Hounslow Council U-Turn Over Chiswick House Parking Tickets|
Council does not have to reimburse motorists following latest advice
Hounslow Council has now discovered it did have the legal right to issue 700 parking tickets to motorists in Chiswick House car-park and that correct parking enforcement was in place between May 2013 and March 2015.
This overturns previous advice to motorists who paid up for parking PCNs during that time period, that they were entitled to reimbursement of their money. A total of £12,000 was recovered by the Council in PCNS and the Council had been prepared to reimburse that money collected in fines because it was told it didn't have the legal authority to charge for parking during that time. That position has now changed.
Only twenty-one penalty charge notices out of an estimated 700 were eventually reimbursed by Hounslow Council - the low uptake was probably due to the fact that the onus was on the motorist to make contact with the Council. However, despite the change in circumstances, the Council says those people who were reimbursed, wrongly as it turns out, will not be expected to give the money back.
It now appears that a mistake was made in the legal advice given to the Council on the matter. A statement from Hounslow in response to queries from chiswickw4.com said, "Charging for parking at Chiswick House and Garden was suspended in March 2015 following legal advice. A subsequent review of that advice confirmed that the original advice was flawed and that the council does have the statutory power to manage the car park.
"Immediate steps were taken to reinstate the car par park as a pay and display car park within 24 hours.
"During the period of non-enforcement, offers were made to recompense vehicle owners who had paid Penalty Charge Notices (PCN) from May 2013 to the date the car park was closed in March 2015. We have refunded 21 PCNs amounting to £697. This process has now ended."
Cllr Richard Foote, Cabinet Member for Community Protection, Hounslow Council, said, “The council has been completely open about the situation with Chiswick House and Garden as and when we had information. At each stage prompt action was taken and Chiswick councillors and the Trustees were briefed on the up-to-date position.
“The council is currently in the process of ensuring the operation and management of the car park is recorded in a legal agreement to sit alongside the lease that Hounslow Council has with the trustees of Chiswick House and Gardens.”
Car park charges were introduced on Dec 3rd 2012 .The parking pay and display fees are from 50p for 30 mins (minimum charge) then two hourly rates up to £15 for all day parking.
November 13, 2015