Yarm taxpayers face £50,000 bill after High Court parking challenge defeated (From Darlington and Stockton Times)
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Yarm taxpayers face £50,000 bill after High Court parking challenge defeated
CONTROVERSIAL plans to introduce pay and display parking in Yarm will now almost certainly go ahead after a legal challenge failed this morning.
Yarm Town Council has already spent more than £20,000 fighting the idea for Yarm High Street but a judge found against it at Leeds High Court.
The taxpayers of Yarm may now end up with a bill approaching £50,000 for the cost of the Judicial Review something described as a 'tragedy' by Stockton Borough Council.
The authority's pay and display scheme will see up to 80 high street spaces converted to short stay and a sliding scale of charges introduced. Most charges will be £1-an-hour, but opponents say it will inconvenience residents and visitors and could damage the local economy.
Coun Mike Smith, Stockton Council's Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Transport, was happy with the outcome.
“We welcome today’s decision by the High Court. The decision is not a surprise as it is yet another confirmation that we continue to follow a proper process to improve parking arrangements in Yarm," he said.
“The legality of the parking arrangements in Yarm has now been challenged in two police investigations, at the High Court and at the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. In every case the council has been fully exonerated and the parking arrangements in Yarm have been found to be sound.
"These challenges are a huge drain on public resources at a time of huge pressures on Local Authority budgets. The costs in terms of officers’ time, police time and Court time are also enormous. It is a tragedy that the costs of this legal case, which will be more than £50,000, will fall on the people of Yarm.
“Elements of the information put forward by Yarm Council were described in court as ‘simply factually wrong.’
“Surely the time has come to accept the decisions of the Police, the High Court and the Traffic Adjudicator and to work towards a solution rather than to pursue more costly legal challenges or deliberate parking fines.
"We remain committed to seeking the best solution to resolving parking issues in Yarm and will now pick up the process halted by this legal challenge.
"We await a formal submission of an alternative proposal on parking from Yarm Town Council and will, as promised, take this to Cabinet for consideration. Following the outcome of this we will be back out to consult in detail with the public over the coming months.”
Jason Hadlow, mayor of Yarm, said he was disappointed by the ruling.
"The judgement was all about procedure, not the actual issue of pay and display," he said.
"However, that's what the people of Yarm wanted us to do, to oppose this and that's what we did."
Coun Marjorie Simpson, who sits on the council, had questioned whether the matter should have gone to Judicial Review. She said it would have been better to negotiate with Stockton Council.
"I may be going to Stockton Council pleading with them to wait for their legal costs for a year," she said. "There's not a lot of money left. I just feel sorry this has happened."