Folkestone & Hythe District Council have failed to collect £130,643 in unpaid Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) for HGVs parked unlawfully across the district in the last two financial years.
HGV parking has caused and continues to cause much disturbance and inconvenience to residents and businesses in various parts of the Folkestone & Hythe District. To help address issues with lorry parking in lay-bys and other inconvenient places, Folkestone & Hythe District Council introduced an overnight and weekend parking ban for HGVs. The ban came into effect on the 2 November 2015 with signs such as the one pictured above, used to communicate the restriction at sites across the district.
Civil Enforcement Officers patrol the sites where there are bans in place at least four nights per week and on weekends.
The ban, for lorries over 7.5 tons operates from midnight to 7am and 8pm to midnight during the week and at all times at weekends across the district.
In the financial year 2017/18 (Apr 1st -31st Mar) the Council issued 2,127 Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) to HGV’s parked in contravention of the ban implemented by the Council in Nov 2015.
However, the Council were forced to write off over £30,000 pounds and over £48,000 remains outstanding, for the financial year 2017/18, meaning they failed to collect a staggering 62.6% of the income for the PCNs issued to HGV’s parked illegally across the district.
In the financial year 2018/19 between the 1st April – 14th Dec 2018, the Council have issued 1362 PCN to HGV’s parked in contravention of the ban.
They have as you can see still to collect nearly £50,000 in outstanding monies and have either cancelled or written off £874.13. Meaning that 67.2% remains uncollected or written off, in this financial year so far.
Many of the HGV’s will be foreign lorries and so the Council are finding it difficult to extract and/or locate the companies to collect the monies owed. This comes in spite of the fact the Council stated when they imposed the ban in Nov 2015 that they would employ a debt recovery firm to trace and collect unpaid PCNs issued to foreign HGVs registered in mainland Europe.
Councillor Ann Berry (pictured) is the Cabinet Member for Transport and the HGV PCNs. What steps will she and the Council take to ensure the recovery of the outstanding £130, 643? If it is not collected will this amount be written off by the Council or will they raise the money via any possible Council Tax hike in April 2019?
The amount owed is greater than £130,643, as we have not included the financial year 15/16 and 16/17. So it is more likely than not, the actual amount owed and outstanding exceeds £200,000.
For a Council who says it offers value for money to its residents, it would appear they are collecting approximately only one in three PCN’s charges or 33% each year, which hardly seems like value for money.
It is clear that after three years of this policy’s implementation, it has not been, nor continues to be a great success. HGVs still park unlawfully and the Council continue to fail to collect more than approximately 33% of the revenue owed.
It is time to look at the policy again and bring in a debt recovery company in who will ensure we get what we are owed.
(All data in charts are from an FoI from F&HDC)
The Shepwayvox Team – Dissent is NOT a Crime