A Wythenshawe-based “cowboy” airport parking firm has been told to pay more than £3,500 following a trading standards sting.
Mr Nabeel Khoury, age 45, of Greenwood Road, Manchester was personally fined £425 as sole director of PPS Manchester Limited and was ordered to pay £1,000 court costs and a victim of crime surcharge of £42 following a hearing at Manchester Magistrates Court.
The PPS Manchester Limited company was also fined £1,000 after being found guilty of engaging in a misleading action, and ordered to pay court costs of £1,000 along with a victims of crime surcharge of £100.
Mr Khoury and PPS Manchester claimed that car would be parked securely when in fact they were being parked on residential streets in Woodhouse Park, Wythenshawe – nearby to Manchester Airport – which is an offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations.
In 2016, Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards team fitted a tracking device to a vehicle and booked a three day airport parking service through the PPS Manchester website. The tracker showed the car had been parked on Greenwood Road in Woodhouse Park and clearly not in a secure car park as advertised.
The company’s website claimed that cars are kept on a concrete surface surrounded by fencing, patrolled 24 hours a day by security guards and under the watch of CCTV.
Returning the following day, trading standards officers found the car in the same position before picking up the vehicle from a PPS Manchester driver the next day.
Under interview, Mr Khoury claimed the cars were safe and secure as it was parked outside of his home address, and claimed the promise on the website referred to a period of time when the business was based at another location close to the airport.
He also claimed that if the booking had been for longer, the vehicle would have been moved to one of three secure car parks that he had exclusive use of.
The investigation is part of a multi-agency operation tasked with dealing with meet and greet parking operators in the Woodhouse Park area that sometime leave holiday maker’s vehicles residential streets for up to two weeks.
A dedicated enforcement team has now been set up to tackle the problem of cars being parked obstructively by rogue ‘meet-and-greet’ companies in residential areas during the school summer holidays.
Since the end of July, the enforcement team have received 42 calls from residents that have led 29 penalty charge notices being handed out, and nine vehicles removed from the streets of Wythenshawe.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, Manchester City Council’s Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, said: “Cowboy meet and greet firms are making life a misery for residents in Wythenshawe and I’m pleased that the Courts have found it appropriate to impose a significant fine on this so-called company.
“I hope this sends a clear message to other illegal operators that deceiving customers will not be tolerated. We are doing everything we can to find you, investigate you and where possible, we will prosecute.
“Many residents are tricked into handing over their car keys to criminals for what seems like a good deal so we strongly advise anybody thinking of using an airport meet-and-greet scheme to research your chosen company carefully and look out for the certified “Buy with Confidence” mark.”
Residents are asked to call the Council on 0161 234 4199 if a vehicle is parked on double yellow lines, if a road crossing is blocked where there is a dropped kerb, if their driveway is completely blocked (where a dropped kerb has been provided by the Council or Wythenshawe Community Housing Group), or if a bus stop is blocked.
Where there is a confirmed case, the Council has powers to take enforcement action, which could include towing the vehicle away.
If a parked vehicle blocks a path or grass verge and makes it hard for pedestrians to pass, residents should contact Greater Manchester Police on 101.
Voters who are not registered to vote are being urged to do so as the countdown begins to Manchester City Council local elections, on Thursday May 3.
New ward boundaries will come into effect at the elections, following an electoral review by the Local Government Boundary Commission for England. As a result, electors will have the opportunity to vote for three candidates in each of the five Wythenshawe wards – Woodhouse Park, Sharston, Baguley, Brooklands and Northenden.
To take part, people must be registered to vote. Anyone not already registered must do it before Tuesday April 17 2018, buy visiting http://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
Anyone who is registered to vote can also choose to vote by post, or by proxy. Applications for a postal vote must be received by 5pm on Wednesday 18 April 2018. The deadline for the receipt of proxy vote applications is 5pm on Wednesday 25 April 2018.
Electors will receive poll cards, which will confirm their voting arrangements, from Friday 23 March 2018 onwards. An online polling station checker is also available at http://www.manchester.gov.uk/pollingstations.
A full list of candidates will be published at 4pm on Monday 9 April 2018. The count and declaration for the local election results will take place on Friday 4 May 2018.
Joanne Roney OBE, Returning Officer for Manchester, said: “This election gives Manchester residents the opportunity to elect the councillors who will represent them locally.
“It’s vital that nobody loses out on their right to vote, so please make sure that you are registered to have your say by Tuesday 17 April.”
To find out more about the ward boundary changes and the Local Government Boundary Commission for England’s Electoral Review of Manchester, visit http://www.lgbce.org.uk.
Manchester City Council’s deputy leader, Cllr Sue Murphy, is meeting with chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier today in bid to ensure the needs of communities are met after Britain leaves the EU.
The Wythenshawe councillor is among a delegation representing the ten UK cities at the heart of the biggest urban areas outside London, meeting the EU chief negotiator today (Monday, 19 Feb). Read More…
Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block to be fitted with sprinkler system in response to Grenfell fire tragedy
Wythenshawe’s tallest tower block is to be fitted with a sprinkler system in the wake of the Grenfell Fire tragedy.
A spokesperson for the Wythenshawe Community Housing Group, which runs the 10 tower blocks in the town said work on the retrofit of the tallest building will start in early 2018.
And a spokesperson for the Group told the Reporter WCHG was committed to funding all recommended safety improvements.
The WCHG statement in full:
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group remain committed to ensuring safety in high rise buildings and continue to work closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service, Manchester City Council and other registered providers to ensure a consistent robust approach to fire safety in tower blocks.
The Group owns and manages 10 high rise buildings in Wythenshawe and none contain ACM panels. Village 135 did have a feature ACM detail to the projecting balconies and this was quickly removed in July 2017 shortly following the tragic Grenfell incident. This has now been replaced with a solid metal cladding panel.
We have worked closely with our residents in all of our high rise buildings which have had annual fire risk assessments in place for many years by accredited consultants. Since June, we have repeated and reviewed in detail our approach to fire safety with our fire safety consultants to identify any further improvements that can be made to each block.
The Group will commence an installation of sprinklers to the tallest building in early 2018 and the Board and Executive team remain committed to funding all recommended improvements including sprinklers for the safety of occupants.”
In June, Wythenshawe CHG said it had worked closely with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and was “considering all options including sprinkler systems” to maintain safety in it’s tower blocks.
WCHG’s comments come as Manchester City Council agreed to consult tenants on spending £10.5 million to fit sprinkler systems to the 36 high rise tower blocks it owns most of which are in North Manchester.
The City Council’s Executive today approved the plan in response to the Grenfell Tower tragedy earlier this year and will follow the completion of high level fire risk assessments that ensures compartmentation of flats, designed to contain fire within an individual dwelling and stop any spread.
Basic fire risk assessments are already in place in all City Council-owned blocks and housing association provider high rises, and were redone immediately following the Grenfell fire. All fire assessments for Council-owned properties have been made available of the Council’s website.
Greater Manchester Fire and rescue) has visited every single high rise block in Manchester and provided the City Council with details. Where necessary the fire officer has taken steps to address safety issues.
The City Council has also written to every owner or building manager of the 216 privately-owned high rises identified in the city to understand whether the cladding or other building materials used presented pose any potential safety issues.
216 building owners have been contacted in the first two weeks of November and, as they respond, the Council is building up a detailed database which is being shared with DCLG as part of a national picture.
The owners of 12 private buildings that feature Aluminium Composite Material (ACM) cladding have responded positively and have actioned remedial works or commissioned fire risk assessments to reassure residents and fire officers that fire safety measures are in place.
A detailed procedure is being established within the City Council and Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) to deal with any owners not responding.
The Council enforcement team, Building Control service and GMFRS are working closely together to ensure that any necessary enforcement actions are correctly actioned.
However, there remains some confusion around enforcement responsibilities and how they are carried out due to a lack of clarity within the current legislation.
The City Council and GMFRS would like to see a revision in guidance for fire safety in flats to address different types of tenure and responsibilities of the building owner and tenants to clearly set out expectations of each party to ensure fire safety.
Cllr Bernard Priest, Deputy Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We need to get to a position where every person who lives in a high rise block feels safe in their homes, understands fire procedures for the building, and building owners know what their responsibilities are.
“We are still awaiting the outcome of the national inquiry following the Grenfell tragedy and we are ready to act quickly to any recommendations. However, we already know that a review into enforcement powers of Councils and the fire service is vital to ensure the legislation is in place to fully protect residents.
“We believe that we should retrofit sprinkler systems in our high rise properties, but it is important that we do this in conversation with our residents – and funding the works will need to be in conversation with Government for their support.”
Manchester residents are invited to nominate the community champions and unsung heroes who keep their communities buzzing for a Be Proud award – including a special award to honour an outstanding contribution in the wake of the Manchester Arena attack.
The Be Proud awards celebrate the local people who proudly do their bit to help make Manchester a better city for everyone to live in.
Manchester City Council wants you to tell them all about the people and organisations who improve people’s lives through what they do, who make a real difference to their neighbourhoods and who are truly passionate about Manchester.
This year, residents are invited to put forward nominations for a special recognition award, which will honour a person, project or organisation that stood tall and helped local communities to pull through after the Manchester Arena attack.
Be Proud awards will also be up for grabs in categories including Volunteer of the Year, Community Cohesion, Business in the Community, Young Achiever of the Year and Neighbour of the Year.
One of the category winners will also be selected by judges as the city’s “Queen (or King) Bee” and will receive the overall Pride of Manchester award for 2017.
Three finalists for each category will be invited to a prestigious Gala Dinner, held in the Great Hall of Manchester Town Hall on Friday 24 November, where the winners will be announced in an “Oscars”-style ceremony.
Executive Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Nigel Murphy, said: “The Be Proud awards are the perfect way of saying a heartfelt thank you to the extraordinary people across Manchester who give their time and talents to make their neighbourhoods better, brighter places for everyone to enjoy.
“We’re asking residents to nominate the people and organisations who they feel deserve recognition for going the extra mile – and this year, we will also be presenting a special award to someone who stepped up to help the city to stay strong and begin to recover after the Manchester Arena attack.”
Nominations are now open and close on Sunday 10 September. Nomination details can be found at www.manchester.gov.uk/beproud
Wythenshawe Community Housing Group says it will consider fitting sprinkler systems to its tower blocks if that is what is required to maintain the safety of residents.
The Group, which runs social housing in Wythenshawe, has been reviewing fire safety in its tower blocks in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire in the North Kensington, London in which at least 79 people have died.
Cladding is already being removed from the Group’s Village 135 complex for elderly people in Wythenshawe and The Reporter put a number of questions to the landlord about other aspects of fire safety, raised by residents. Read More…
A Manchester company has been ordered to pay a penalty of more than £800, after admitting to fly-tipping in Wythenshawe.
Wrafter Building Services Ltd, of Parkend Road, Wythenshawe, pleaded guilty to fly-tipping at a hearing on 13 June 2017, at Manchester Magistrates Court. Read More…