The president of Knaresborough’s Chamber of Trade is calling for ‘hundreds’ of people to seek reimbursement for ‘unlawfully’ issued parking penalties in the town.
Earlier this month, Harrogate Magistrates Court dismissed a claim by Vehicle Control Services (VCS) against Knaresborough resident, Robert Day, for a parking penalty which was issued at the Frazer Theatre.
Helping to represent Mr Day, president of the town’s Chamber of Trade, Steve Teggin, said that the case had been dismissed on a technicality.
The case follows a longstanding dispute between Mr Teggin and the owners of the Frazer Theatre, The Knaresborough Players, who contracted VCS to regulate parking on their land.
Mr Teggin said: “When they signed that contract in 2008 the Knaresborough Players were registered in the land registry as the Knaresborough Players. But in 2013 it became the
Knaresborough Players Ltd so they would have to be contracted as limited and register the land as limited.
“The court agreed that the original contract they were operating under was actually unlawful, because it was a different organisation which was under contract to the one that was registered as owning the land. Therefore from 2013 the original contract was void and unenforceable.”
Now Mr Teggin is keen for anyone else who received parking fines at the theatre in the last five years to come forward and claim their money back.
He said: “I think it’s very wrong that an organisation in the centre of Knaresborough should decide to take action and allow an outside company to take action against Knaresborough residents and visitors often ending in court cases and county court judgements for a parking problem that isn’t actually legitimate.
“We told them two years ago they are legally not allowed to do this but they have continued to have this company come in and issue penalties for parking there.”
Mr Teggin said he had persisted with seeking reimbursement for penalised motorists because he felt the Knaresborough Players could have taken a more ‘productive approach’.
He said: “They should have taken a more productive approach by getting funds together which are available to resurface and allocate parking spaces to people who would have gladly paid to park, bringing in over £7,000 per annum over the last 10 years.
“There’s been hundreds and hundreds of people subjected through the courts and had hundreds or thousands of pounds taken off them.
“I feel the people now should come forward and reclaim this money back.”
Chairman of the Knaresborough Players Committee, David Crosthwaite said the claim against Mr Day had been dismissed on a contract technicality, but explained that the claim dispute was between Mr Day and VCS, not the Frazer Theatre.
He said: “Vehicle Control Services are not in any way employed by the Frazer Theatre. At no time has the Knaresborough Players received any money of any kind from Vehicle Control Services.
“We have had a contract with them but we don’t employ them, we don’t pay them. They operate completely under their own system.”
Mr Crosthwaite said the signs at the theatre grounds clearly state the land is for private parking and that motorists choosing to ignore the signs were breaking a contract with VCS.
He said: “If someone goes and parks there and ignores the signs they are judged under the law to be breaking that contract.
“It is a way in which it is feasible for groups such as ours to be able to try and exercise the right to use our land in a way which is a appropriate.”
Responding to Mr Teggin’s comments about seeking funds to create a pay-for carpark, Mr Crosthwaite explained the theatre committee has never sought to profit from parking.
He said: “We don’t see our carpark and land as a way of making money out of people, that is not what it’s about.
“It’s about having the availability of that land to support our work.
“Everybody at the Knaresborough Players is a volunteer and it is for the work of all those people, that keep the theatre going.
“We never have and never would want to make money out of that carpark.”
Vehicle Control Services were approached but unavailable for comment.