CHICHESTER District Council, as the enforcement authority for off-street contraventions, breaks my heart.
Who at this time of the year would deliberately park incorrectly so they could pay £35 to West Sussex County Council?
I parked in a marked-off parking area on Friary Lane.
I checked the sign and saw that parking was allowed between 9am-5.30pm and duly scratched my green 60p parking voucher. I only needed to pop into the district council offices for a quick enquiry and so chose not to park in the car park immediately adjacent as it would be a bit slower finding a space and paying at the meter.
After less than 25 minutes, as witnessed by the Royal Mail postman who kindly signed my parking voucher to say so, I returned to my car to find that I had a penalty charge notice. I was mystified as to why.
On re-reading the sign I noticed ‘permit holders only’. Why I didn’t take this in before I don’t know, but even in noticing it, it took me a minute to work out what that meant.
I had just checked that the parking time was correct and somehow my brain had clocked the other information as relating to something different.
On reflection I can see that this was a very silly misinterpretation, but what is really hurtful is the cost of my mistake.
Surely it cannot be right to charge £70 for such a mistake as this? Or even £35 if paid promptly. Is it really in the same league as a criminal offence?
Surely it could be seen this was an error as I had a parking voucher on the car.
I wasn’t trying to get extra time or to evade paying, nor had I deliberately decided to risk parking where I might get fined because it was convenient or that I could choose to park anywhere as I could afford to throw away the money.
I was so upset that I decided to take back the presents I had bought and not shop in Chichester again. Much as I dislike online shopping, it does seem to be the way forward.
Sally Ann Jackson
Brooks Lane, Bosham