REVEALED: The Preston and Chorley streets where the most parking tickets are issued

Preston accounted for half of the of the top ten streets in Lancashire where the most parking tickets were issued in 2020/21, the Post can reveal.

Saturday, 12th March 2022, 2:09 pm
Updated Sunday, 13th March 2022, 12:31 am

Birley Street - behind the town hall - was the most ticketed road in the city, with 677 fines dished out during the last full financial year.

That put the dead-end street third in the Lancashire penalty charge chart, behind two highways in Lancaster and Pendle, where even more drivers had been found disregarding the rules.

Although Preston missed out on the dubious honour of the top spot, it was the most widely represented district in the Lancashire County Council top ten - also claiming fourth, fifth, sixth and tenth places. Scroll down for the full list in pictures.

Almost 2,500 tickets were slapped on windscreens in the city across the five routes where the most fines were issued for flouting kerbside parking restrictions.

The data does nor include tickets given out in off-street car parks, where enforcement is carried out by district councils or private companies acting on their behalf.

The Post has also obtained figures which reveal that the pandemic initially put a half a million pound dent in County Hall’s income from parking penalties. The total for 2020/21 was down to £1.89m from £2.35m the year before.

Between April 2021 and January 2022, the authority received £1.22m in parking fines - but the final total for 2021/22 is likely to be significantly higher, once yet-to-be-paid tickets are factored in, as well as those issued in February and March.

Elsewhere in Central Lancashire, Chorley's Market Street was the road where motorists were most likely to have found themselves fined in the district during 2020/21 - with 129 penalties issued.

Neighbouring South Ribble did not even feature in the Lancashire top 100, meaning that its most-ticketed street cannot be identified.

Lancashire County Council took direct control of parking enforcement last September, having outsourced the role to a private company ever since assuming the role from the police in 2004 when parking breaches in the county were decriminalised.

That means street patrols are now part of the County Hall operation, which had previously processed tickets and fines, but not dispensed them.

However, two drivers who have contributed to the parking ticket tally on Birley Street say they believe that parking wardens in Preston are too quick to pull out their printers - irrespective of who they are working for.

Sam Livesey, from Adrian Livesey’s Butchers in Preston Market, would like a bit more discretion to be applied before a ticket is doled out.

“We’re trying to run a business which relies on deliveries and collections. If I’m unloading from the van [in one of the designated loading bays], but then am called away to the shop for something, I’ll come back and find a ticket has been given while the vehicle was unattended.

“I understand that there have got to be rules to stop people parking stupidly, but I’m not one to take the mickey - and there has got be some give and take.

“I don't know a trader in the market who hasn’t had a ticket,” Sam says.

Parking and loading is banned on much of Birley Street throughout the day, but there is an area specifically reserved for loading.

Sam also claims that the parking situation in the city puts some people off visiting what they would otherwise regard as a great place to shop.

“Getting a ticket really puts a dampener on your day. There needs to be some kind of incentive for shoppers in Preston - like getting the first hour free or something.

“People are frightened to death of going in St. George’s car park because of the one-way system.

“There are loads of great traders in the market, but if people come and park up and pop inside to collect something and come out to find they've been ticked, they won't come back.”

Simon Nash, who also works in the market hall, says that there should be some “flexibility” for people trying to run a business.

“It’s just a nightmare. Everybody knows the rules, but there is just no leeway being given.

“I see so many disgruntled people going back [to their vehicles] to find that they have been ticketed.”

Peter Bell, Lancashire County Council’’s regulation and enforcement manager, told the Post that the changes introduced last autumn will enable the authority to react to parking problems more effectively - and he said that there was a simple reason why the rules had to be enforced.

"[It] is to keep traffic flowing freely and ensure that people don't cause safety problems by parking inappropriately.

"We brought parking services in-house last year, and are still working to embed a number of changes to the way we work to realise the full benefits, however overall it will make our service more responsive and efficient due to working as one team.

"Something we've been able to do during the pandemic due to town centre areas being a bit quieter is visit a wider range of locations, and respond to more requests for enforcement from residents across the county. Now we have full control of how our officers are deployed this is something we're aiming to continue in the future.

"We've also begun using new software to manage the service which should allow us to better analyse and respond to parking problems, and will become more useful as we use the new system and populate it with information.

"As part of the county council's commitment to reduce carbon emissions our service will begin using fully electric vehicles this year, which is another thing we can only do now we're fully managing the service in-house rather than contracting with a third party," Mr. Bell added.

WHAT PRICE A PARKING TICKET?

Parking tickets issued by Lancashire County Council are charged at either £70 or £50 - with the penalties halved if they are paid within a fortnight.

The higher rate applies to vehicles parked in an area where parking is prohibited entirely and the lower rate in places where parking is allowed, but the rules have been broken.

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