CHICHESTER District Council has been slammed for ‘misusing taxpayers’ money’ after bringing in a team of heavyweight barristers to fight an ‘illegal’ £70 parking ticket battle.
Nicholas Sercombe of Easebourne, who has been locked in a 14-month battle with the council, successfully sued it for issuing the ticket. But now the council has brought in the ‘big guns’ in a bid to get the decision overturned.
Last month Mr Sercombe blasted the council for its ‘sheer incompetence’ after the row racked up a £1,000 bill for taxpayers.
Now he is accusing them of ‘bullying tactics’ after officers spent even more money on a team of heavyweight barristers to get the decision overturned.
“This is a disgraceful misuse of taxpayers’ money, and it has got to stop,” said Mr Sercombe.
He was issued the ticket in December 2011 after using a loading bay in Midhurst’s North Street to load bulky parcels into his car. He was told if he did not pay up, he would be taken to a tribunal in Manchester. Instead he paid the ticket, and told the council he would sue it.
He took it to court and, as it failed to get a defence together, it lost the case for incorrectly issuing a parking ticket.
The council was given an order to pay Mr Sercombe £930 compensation and costs.
But now it is fighting back and, after a hearing on Wednesday, the council won the right to go back to court to try to overturn the judge’s decision.
But Mr Sercombe has criticised a system where he says local authorities are allowed to play by different rules.
“Apparently, in law, civil bodies such as local authorities are allowed to go past the expiry date and they can go back and overturn decisions,” he said. “We are held accountable. It’s one rule for us and one for them.
“They sent in an army to go and fight it, a barrister and barrister’s assistant. They threw everything they had at it. Someone is trying to make sure we won’t succeed. It is ludicrous.”
He said he would continue to fight as ‘they are issuing tickets illegally’, and said if he wins, he will take his costs, and give the rest to charity.
A CDC spokesman said: “Court proceedings are continuing in relation to this matter. The case has been listed for a further hearing at Chichester County Court on April 30.”