Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Salisbury: Parking enforcement `will never be popular'
Nice to see that Salisbury decided to call their enforcers 'Parking Ambassadors.'
No matter how many times you called Vinnie Jones 'sweetie' the effect of his actions never changed.
...but please don't laugh out loud when you see their Penalty Charge Notice ... an offical legal document. Please bear in mind that these people work for us!
Parking enforcement `will never be popular'
From the Salisbury Journal, first published Thursday 8th Jul 2004
Days after the council announced plans to extend parking ambassadors' patrols until 10pm, the Journal has received a flurry of complaints from disgruntled drivers. Jill Harding spoke to some of the motorists who have fallen foul of Salisbury's parking policy
SALISBURY'S tough approach to parking enforcement often causes controversy, with many irate drivers discovering the dreaded penalty notices when they overstay by a few minutes, accidentally park in the wrong place or buy a ticket that slips off the dashboard - even if it is later produced.
Some fear the tough policy will deter people from coming to the city, while others argue ambassadors must take a hard line on those who break the rules.
Last year, the council received £648,759 from parking fines and paid £681,601 in staff wages.
Total expenditure on parking was £2,802,581 and the council, which denies being heavy-handed, says all fines are ploughed back into the service.
A spokesman said: "Enforcing car parking regulations is never going to be popular with the people who receive penalty charge notices but it is crucial that they are enforced properly.
"It is up to the driver to ensure they pay the right amount, come back to their vehicle in time and are correctly parked in the bays.
"Our ambassadors do a very difficult job and they can only enforce what the regulations ask them to, not second-guess the individual reasons why a driver might have contravened the regulations.
"That is why we give all drivers the chance to appeal any penalty charge notices they might receive and we shall look at each case fairly and impartially.
"We strongly refute claims that we are going over the top in our enforcement."
However, with the Journal's Postbag regularly full of letters and complaints from our readers, this week we highlight three cases of motorists who have received fines they felt were unjustified.
City visit `unpleasant'
IT is not only residents who have complained about the stringent parking controls. ,
John Rhodes, of Cardiff, visited Salisbury in May and was furious after he inserted enough money into the machine for three hours parking but only had 60 minutes on his ticket because the coins didn't register.
"It was pouring with rain, my wife hurried across and put two £1 coins in the meter and I displayed the ticket without looking at it - it was very wet and there was no shelter.
"On returning to the parking lot after two-and-a-half hours, we were shocked to find a penalty notice on the windscreen.
"The parking ticket had only recorded one of the two coins inserted.
"The council said our reason was insufficient and we had to pay the fine. Many honest, unsuspecting members of the public are in danger of being caught out by this problem, which leads to substantial, unjustified revenue to the council.
"It made coming to Salisbury a very unpleasant experience."
The council spokesman said drivers must check their tickets ( never a truer word spoken!), as unregistered coins are added on to the next purchase.
"Our car machines display several notices advising drivers to check that all coins have registered before pressing the green button," said the spokesman.
"It is possible that a driver arriving in Salisbury might be meeting a Metric Accent machine for the first time but, as they are in such widespread use, this would be uncommon."
Motorist took complaint to adjudicator
ONE man, Greg Condliffe, of Salisbury, took his complaint to the national parking adjudicator after he received a ticket for mistakenly parking in a disabled space outside Salisbury post office when the signs and lines were worn.
Like 50 per cent of motorists who appeal to the adjudicator (in Salisbury this should have been 1005 if the adjudicator had been competent), he was successful in overturning the fine but said the process took six months and was a battle that would deter most drivers. He said: "It is very hard to find out how to appeal in the first place.
"Most people would just have paid within 30 days but I was very angry because the sign wasn't clear. After I took it to the parking adjudicator, the council cancelled the fine, which shows they admit to making a mistake."
The council spokesman said: "We were aware that the disabled bay markings in Chipper Lane outside the post office were becoming worn and, as a result, the Salisbury joint transportation committee repainted the bay.
"However, photographs show that, before the bay was repainted, it was still clearly a disabled bay.
"The case progressed to the traffic enforcement centre.
"As the bay had since been remarked, we withdrew the case."
Woman shocked at hasty action
WHEN Julie Waters (39), of Downton, parked in Brown Street car park last Wednesday, she saw how quickly the ambassadors can act.
She said: "I went to the ticket machine on one side of the car park but, because there was a queue of about three people, I walked over to the other one.
"Then I saw an ambassador was looking at my car and writing something down.
"I ran over screaming `What are you doing?'
"I'm sure he was giving me a penalty notice without even giving me time to buy a ticket.
"It's ridiculous - they want people to shop in Salisbury but the parking ambassadors are so over-zealous."
But the council denies the ambassador was too quick off the mark.
"This was not the case," said the spokesman.
"The ambassador was just looking at every vehicle in the car park.
"He had not taken any details of her vehicle and, even if he had, he would then have to wait two minutes before he could issue a penalty charge notice, as there is a two-minute delay built into his machinery."
Posted by Neil Herron at 2:36 pm
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