More than 2,200 motorists in Ryedale have been slapped with car parking tickets in the past year amid claims that the fines are being used as a “cash cow” by the authorities in charge.
Figures obtained by the Mercury reveal that parking enforcement officers from Scarborough Borough Council have issued 1,705 “on street” and 546 “off street” fines in the last 12 months.
It has frustrated and angered many local residents who feel they are being deliberately targeted by wardens and by council officials who are imposing restrictions where there have been none in recent memory.
Kirkham Henry Performing Arts Centre recently managed to secure a U-turn from council bosses who had imposed a “no waiting at any time” parking sign on part of Horsemarket Road, Malton, without any notice, while residents complained earlier this year about being fined for parking in Potter Hill, Pickering.
Both areas had been used by motorists for years without any enforcement action being taken.
And residents who are forced out of a small, yet busy car park behind Mill Street and Wood Street, Norton, say they are being “hammered” by parking tickets - with enforcement officers sometimes arriving early on a Sunday morning to issue tickets, even if their car wheels are barely brushing a double yellow line.
Andy Williamson, of Mill Street, said: “There has never been much of an issue with parking due to the courtesy local residents have for each other.”
Parking enforcement officers, he claims, have told him and his neighbours that Scarborough Borough Council has been “struggling to fill its coffers” as residents have become wise to the areas they target.
He added: “Before six months ago, we never saw ticket attendants working on Sunday, never saw them working before 8am. There must be a financial incentive in it and when it comes out of employees’ mouths itself, everything else seems to fade away.”
They are now considering appealing to the relevant authority to have parking bays installed in the unmarked car park or to have a system introduced involving residents’ permits.
Cllr Lindsay Burr, who represents the Malton Ward on North Yorkshire County Council, said: “We seem to be bearing the brunt of the parking enforcements at the moment.
“Every week I receive letters or phone calls from disgruntled residents complaining about unenforceable notices and yellow lines which should have never been put down.
“I am not surprised that residents are very angry - so am I. This could be justified as a cash cow with once again Malton taking the hit. It just is not good enough.”
She added: “I have been working hard behind the scenes for residents on this particular issue and have spoken to officers at North Yorkshire County Council (NYCC). It has been admitted that the contractors used to publish the report, were not the best and did not know the local area.
Hopefully, these issues will be resolved soon, but unfortunately I have noticed that things don’t move quickly at NYCC.
“Within the next six weeks we should have received new signs, which should make things much clearer for residents.
“I will also be working with officers to review some particular areas in Malton, where lines have been put down and are causing great concern to residents. Hopefully some of these lines can be removed.”
Parking enforcement in Ryedale was taken over by Scarborough Borough Council, on behalf of North Yorkshire County Council, on May 30, 2013.
Fines vary from the “serious” - parking on yellow lines, for example - which cost motorists £70, or £35 if paid within 14 days, to a fine of £50 for less serious “contraventions.”
In the past year, Ryedale District Council earned £12,865 in fines from “off street” violations in the authority’s own car parks.
*Scarborough Borough Council was unavailable for comment.