Leeds: 2,500 caught out by new parking fees

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ALMOST 2,500 extra parking tickets were issued in Leeds city centre just ONE MONTH into the introduction of controversial new evening and Sunday parking charges for council owned spaces.

Figures obtained by the YEP show there have been 631 penalty charge notices issued on Sundays, and 1,806 on weekday evenings, between November 18 and December 18. It equates to 83 extra tickets every day – and could potentially rake in £125,000 in fines.

The figures contribute to 10,094 tickets issued in November and 7,471 in December in the lead up to Christmas week. Campaigners have called on the council to rethink the charges and some city centre traders led a petition against the move.

Peter Horton, a Yorkshire spokesman for the Alliance of British Drivers, said today: “Motorists are highly overtaxed already. They should keep parking charges down in city centres.

“The council pays lip service about trying to stimulate the high street, but on the other hand, they say ‘you have to pay to come into the city centre’.”

Speaking about the 2,437 tickets issued in a month on Sundays and evenings, he added: “Motorists have always been an easy source of revenue. If it’s not speed cameras, it’s parking”.

Asked if there would be a grace period to allow any unwitting motorists – who may not be aware of the charges – to appeal their fines, a Leeds council spokeswoman said: “All fixed penalty notices issued for any parking infringement are treated in the same way – we will be dealing with those received on an evening or Sunday no differently.” The spokeswoman added that “unlike the predictions”, the new charges had not harmed city centre trading in the festive season.

“There hasn’t been a drop-off in demand. In fact, we’ve seen one of the busiest pre-Christmas periods for years,” she said.

“There are around 19,000 car parking spaces in the city centre and the council only controls 29 per percent, with, on average, some of the cheapest rates.”

Footfall in Leeds city centre was up 3.8 percent in the week leading to Christmas compared to 2012.

It was boosted by the opening of Trinity Leeds, which had 100,000 visitors on December 23 and 70,000 on Christmas Eve.

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