Driver wins parking fine battle because signs were 6cm too small

Chris Burton measures a permit holders sign after finding the blue ‘P’ notice was 6cm short of 20cm requirment
Chris Burton measures a permit holders sign after finding the blue ‘P’ notice was 6cm short of 20cm requirment - LOUISE BURTON/SWNS

Parking signs where the blue ‘P’ box is less than 20cm cannot be enforced, a driver has successfully argued.

Chris Burton, 42, found that several blue ‘P’ parking notices in Bury, Greater Manchester, were short of this 20cm (about 8in) requirement.

Mr Burton used a tape measure to investigate the size of the signs after being hit with a £60 fine while dropping off his father for a hospital appointment.

A sign marking the entrance to a permit parking area must bear a blue ‘P’ symbol that is 200mm in height, with a legend below of 40mm, according to The Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2016.

A county court judgment ruled that the order for Mr Burton to pay his parking ticket should be revoked after he submitted pages of evidence, including the size of the signs which indicated that the area was residents’ parking only.

Mr Burton was issued with a parking ticket in May, when he claimed there were no available parking spaces at the hospital and so found a space for his Volkswagen Sharan on a nearby road. However, when he returned to the car, he discovered a penalty charge notice (PCN) on his windscreen.

He appealed the ticket online and said it was rejected within minutes, so he appealed again in June and said he heard nothing back for months.

However, in September he received a letter from the council saying that it was taking the case to Northampton county court to recover costs.


Mr Burton had initially complained that the two residents-only parking signs in the area had either been covered up by a bush or turned around, but he later decided to measure the signs and sent all his evidence to the court.

Mr Burton said: “UK law says signs have to be 20cm in size, but when I checked the signs that were there, they were only 14cm.”

The judgment said: “It is ordered that the order for recovery of unpaid penalty charge be revoked.”

A spokesman for Bury council said that the sizing issue only affected “a tiny number” of signs located at residents-only parking zones and “not to parking signs in general across the borough”.

Mr Burton said that the matter has since been taken to tribunal, with Bury council not yet aware of its outcome.

It is understood that the PCN is still active until that ruling is published, however if the tribunal rules in Mr Burton’s favour, it will be cancelled.

Parking tribunal

The council spokesman said: “Mr Burton was issued with a PCN for parking without a permit in a residents-only parking zone near Fairfield hospital.

“His initial appeal was rejected, and he was informed that he could either pay the PCN or appeal to the independent parking tribunal in Manchester.

“If he did appeal to the adjudicator [tribunal], we have not been informed of the outcome.

“As far as the size of parking signs is concerned – we believe this issue relates to a tiny number of signs located at residents-only parking zones, not to parking signs in general across the borough.

“We are satisfied that the overwhelming number of signs across Bury are fully in accordance with national regulations, and any which are not will be rectified.”