Residents 'given £20,000 fines' for parking in their OWN spaces outside their flats

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Residents claim they have been fined about £20,000 in total for parking in their own spaces at an apartment complex.

Over 100 drivers claim private firm Vehicle Control Services (VCS) has issued up to 200 tickets since it launched its scheme less than a month ago.

Each ticket comes with a £100 charge, which goes down to £60 if paid within 14 days.

It means some residents have unpaid fines amounting to £2,000.

In all, they estimate £20,000 of tickets have been issued at the Broadway Complex in Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.

The angry drivers are refusing to pay but are battling to get them cancelled.

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Most fines have landed on cars belonging to apartment owners or renters parked in the space allotted to them in their contracts, but have not been displaying the new permits which VCS demand they use.

VCS posted warning letters and permits through residents' mailboxes one working day before the launch.

But residents say many of them were away at the time, didn't receive the letter or never got a permit.

The permit is specific to each resident's space, which means drivers can be liable for a ticket if someone parks in their space and they park elsewhere.

Meanwhile, others have been ticketed after refusing to adhere to the unpopular permit scheme.

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VCS was contracted by Lambert Smith Hampton which manages the 160 apartments. But residents say they never asked for a scheme - and were not consulted either.

Led by resident Jeff Smart, 54, a BBC editor, many are refusing to pay their fines - and won't give up until the firm is axed and their fines revoked.

Jeff, who has ignored more than 20 fines, said: "We're fighting this as a group and will not be paying VCS. We will fight this all the way to the courts if we have to.

"Our management have put in place a stupid parking scheme to solve a minor and rare problem of people parking in our spaces that nobody minded that much.

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"We weren't consulted, it was doomed to fail.

"The spirit of the blitz is alive and well - we have a common goal and a common enemy - both the management who imposed this scheme without fair warning and the parking company VCS.

"Hopefully it will encourage other residential groups to fight for their rights when they find themselves trampled underfoot."

The scheme works on the basis that if a car doesn't have a permit for the space, it gets a ticket.

Some fines have landed on visitors' cars - often relatives given permission by their hosts to use their spot.

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Jeff also claims staff from the firm have been rude to residents - and parked in their spaces while handing out tickets.

More than 100 residents have signed a petition against the parking scheme. Among them is a driver who was on holiday in India when it launched and returned to find six tickets on his car.

They have held talks with management Lambert Smith Hampton, who they say promised action but did nothing.

After a slew of complaints, VCS did offer to reduce fines to £20 - but Jeff claims this is just a way of getting people to pay and accept blame.

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When the Manchester Evening News contacted VCS we were given an email address which we wrote to, with no reply.

When called back, a telephone operator refused to pass the call to a manager and told the M.E.N that the communications department did not have a telephone number.

A Lambert Smith Hampton spokesman said: "We introduced permits to improve parking for local residents however we have been informed they prefer the previous permit-free system.

"With that in mind we are in the process of cancelling the parking control and all issued tickets."


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