PARKING meters raking in hundreds of thousands of pounds a year across Bournemouth could be illegal.

The council is carrying out an urgent assessment after a judgement claiming Traffic Regulation Orders may be wrongly worded.

It says it is “confident” the town’s 98 parking meters are legal but has suspended parking enforcement in these areas while an assessment is carried out, meaning that motorists without parking tickets will not be fined.

However, the parking meters themselves are still in operation – they currently generate £773,000 a year for the council.

The Daily Echo has been told that an appeal against a penalty charge notice revealed a possible error.

It is believed the dispute centres around whether or not the order specifies where a ticket must be displayed in the vehicle.

Mike Holmes, service director for planning and transport services, said: “We are confident the use of all parking meters to regulate parking across Bournemouth is legal.

“The Independent Adjudicator’s decision related to the legal documentation behind parking enforcement at a particular area where a pay and display meter is located.

“As a result we are currently assessing the legal documentation for all areas where street pay and display meters are located.

“During this time we have suspended enforcement at these locations.

“This is being looked at as a matter of urgency and enforcement action could be reinstated at any time without notice.

“We would therefore urge motorists to continue following the pay and display instructions in accordance with the signage.

“It is also important to note that parking enforcement for all others areas of on street and off street will continue as normal.”

A Bournemouth council spokesman said the issue does not relate to wording on ticket machines and said no legal precedent has been set.

Parking meters have been gradually introduced across Bournemouth over the last seven years and are placed in some of the town centre’s busiest roads including Westover Road, Hinton Road, Richmond Hill, Old Christchurch Road, Bourne Avenue and Madeira Road.

Cllr Michael Filer, cabinet member with responsibility for transport, said: “This is purely an operational issue and I’ve instructed officers to deal with it as a matter of urgency.”