Council bosses have denied claims that a permit scheme brought in to ease the parking woes of residents and businesses is being abused.
People living in Argyle Street, between Tunstall Road and Grange Terrace in Sunderland city centre, say they have watched people park up early in the morning, head into offices and then return after 5pm to collect their cars.
They claim that includes a number who have gone into local authority buildings, but Sunderland City Council says it is “unaware” of any permits being issued to council staff who work in the Civic Centre unless they have met its set criteria.
The system operates for residents, visitors and businesses, with dispensation permits and scratch cards also issued.
Residents and businesses with addresses inside the permit areas are entitled to apply, with up to five residents’ permits per household available, plus a visitor permit.
A business can apply for one permit without the need to make an operational case, while up to five can be issued should a case be made for them.
I find this a disregard for the permit scheme and it was introduced for this very issue.Patrick James
Landlord Patrick James, 37, who lives in the area, has raised concerns about how the permits are being used and says the issue has become more noticeable in the last month.
“It’s basically going back to the same problem,” he said.
“We’ve also got people who are running businesses who are having to park half a mile away from their shop.
“Both myself and other residents have noticed since the parking scheme came into power a gradual increase of cars parking in the street who don’t actually reside there.
“Upon closer inspection we have found that these cars do not belong to residents and belong to people working in the city centre.
“I find this a disregard for the permit scheme and it was introduced for this very issue.
“I have spoken to traffic wardens who clearly agree with us and find that it should be addressed.
“When applying for the permit they ask for your address and that’s where the cars parking day in and day out should be registered too.”
Councillor Michael Mordey, cabinet member for city services, said: “The Ashbrooke and Thornholme Community Parking Management Scheme came into effect in August.
“The scheme has proved popular for residents, businesses or individuals who need to park within the scheme area during the restricted times and meet its criteria.
“The council is unaware of any permits being issued to council staff who work in the Civic Centre unless they have met the criteria.
“As with all the city’s parking schemes, there is regular monitoring.
“If anyone believes permits are being misused and can supply relevant information, the council can make further inquiries.”