0161 236 7007

A Manchester lawyer who was sent four separate letters by the City Council demanding the immediate payment of NOTHING has questioned whether they are an early April Fool’s joke?

Nick Freeman, who owns Freeman & Co Solicitors, received the non-domestic rates demand notices in relation to a car parking space outside his Oxford Court office in the city centre.

Each one, for the years 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009, states the liability period is April 1 to April 1 of that year, and that the amount due for each period is £0.00. It also helpfully informs him that he can pay this by direct debit!

And, in a bid to be more customer friendly, the authority had thoughtfully included a separate bundle of leaflets with each letter, including one sheet headed “your calculation details”. These were blank!

Mr Freeman said: “Looking at the non-period of April 1to April 1, I wonder if the council isn’t playing some subtle early April Fool’s Day prank at the rate payer’s expense.

“If they are it isn’t very funny! How can they send out demands for a non-period? It beggars belief”.

“Local authorities always complain they are cash-strapped. Well this is a complete waste of money, time and effort”.

“I’d like to know how many other businesses have also received similar letters from the council? I can’t believe I’m the only one? And if I’m not, how much has this pointless exercise cost. Apart from anything else it’s not very eco friendly!”

Last year, Mr Freeman claimed the council had been illegally using cameras designated to monitor bus lanes to prosecute motorists.

However, despite an initial denial, the council performed a U-turn by later admitting that a number of cameras had not had the necessary certification.

The total number of Penalty Charge Notices issued by them during the period when these cameras did not have approval was in excess of 18,000.