A NORTH EAST council which was earlier this year warned against the potential of a "deadly crash" has been slammed after figures revealed barely any parking fines were issued outside a problem garage.

Sunderland City Council has been "made a mockery of" according to residents after it emerged less than one fine is being issued a month, despite dozens of illegally parked cars outside O'Connors Garage on the A690 Durham Road.

A Freedom of Information request, submitted by The Northern Echo, revealed the equivalent of just 19 fines have been issued outside the garage each year since January 2018, despite cars parking on double-yellow lines and the cycle lane.

Read more: Residents hit back at Sunderland Council over illegally-parked cars on the A690

It comes after residents earlier this year said it was an "accident waiting to happen" as the garage was accused of "blocking" the left-hand lane of the A690 with customer and company vehicles, every day of trade.

The Northern Echo: Residents say nothing is being done Picture: CONTRIBUTORResidents say nothing is being done Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

Speaking to The Northern Echo, one resident said: "If someone ends up dying, it has got to be on the council – this is their responsibility and they have been told time and time again. (The) council is just being made a mockery of."

Data obtained from the Freedom of Information request revealed just six Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) were issued outside the garage since the start of this year, meanwhile 21 were issued in 2020, 28 were issued in 2019 and just 21 were issued in 2018.

The figures, which related to the starting point of the road where customer vehicles are allegedly parked, Mayfair Buildings also showed that out of all 13 appeals received, all were thrown out by the council.

Resident Mark Stephen, who previously said cars and buses had been forced into the right-hand lane of the A690 with just seconds to spare, said the council had refused to take action for years. 

He said: "The wardens just are not ticketing the cars, they come round once a day and ask (the garage) to move the cars, they do and then they come back five minutes later and park up. It's just embarrassing."

The Northern Echo: Residents say company vehicles are left abandoned in the left hand lane Picture: CONTRIBUTORResidents say company vehicles are left abandoned in the left hand lane Picture: CONTRIBUTOR

Read more: Council warned of potential 'crash' over illegally-parked cars at Sunderland garage

Earlier this month, one carer said that she, along with her wheelchair-bound mother, had been left unable to cross a pedestrian crossing as a van appearing to belong to the garage had been left strewn across the dropped curb.

She said that as a result, she had been forced to push her mother several metres in the direction of oncoming traffic along the road in order to rejoin the pavement opposite.

Describing it as a "disgrace," she raised concerns that cars had been in the process of slowing down from speeds in excess of 30mph. 

The Northern Echo: Picture: CONTRIBUTORPicture: CONTRIBUTOR

In response to a complaint made by Mr Stephen, the council previously said that it was unable to issue instant fines to private and commercial vehicles without waiting several minutes, unless they were parked on a cycle path.

It also said that vehicles causing an obstruction fell under the remit of the police. 

But Mr Stephen said that the council had contradicted themselves as he said the entire stretch of affected road is a cycle path, which he said continued to be left obstructed by parked cars.

Read more: 'Accident waiting to happen': Car garage slammed after A690 'blocked' by customers' cars

He added: "The council just don't care, they don't ticket them despite being on a cycle path – and the police don't do anything about it, I have never seen them do anything here."

The Northern Echo: Residents say cars are parked on the cycle lane and footpath on an almost daily basis Residents say cars are parked on the cycle lane and footpath on an almost daily basis

Earlier this year, residents escalated their complaint against the council to the Local Government Ombudsman, which is believed to be currently investigating, after alleging that no action to resolve the issues had been taken.

In response to the findings, a spokesperson for Sunderland City Council said: "Parking Services are aware of the ongoing issues outside of O’Connors Garage. 

"We are continuing to work with the Police, and Civil Enforcement Officers are deployed to the location when resources allow. 

"Motorists should not park contravening the parking regulations and are reminded to park legally and respect the rights of other road users and pedestrians."

A spokesperson for Northumbria Police said: “We will continue to work closely with the council to tackle irresponsible motorists who cause an obstruction or hazard on our roads.

“We would always encourage anybody who sees a vehicle parked in a dangerous position or blocking a road to report it to us.

“Traffic contraventions, such as a vehicle parked on double yellow lines, should be reported to the relevant local authority.”

The Northern Echo approached O'Connors Garage but did not receive a response at time of publication.


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