There was a note of discord after the town band’s performance in the Leconfield Hall for the surprise birthday party of Petworth Society Chairman Peter Jerrome.
For as Paula Streeter musical director, her band master husband Martyn and their son Tom who plays the tuba, loaded instruments into their car outside the hall, a parking ticket was slapped on their car.
A furious Martyn told the Observer: “When the civil enforcement officer was told the reason for stopping, she completely ignored us and just started taking photographs. She was very short in her manner, insensitive to all concerned and her lack of communication I consider to be very rude.
“Her behaviour was beyond belief and a sad reflection on the way Chichester District Council train their officers.”
He said they were all in band uniforms. Tom had brought the car from the Pound Street car park and was sitting in the driver’s seat as the car was being loaded.
“The whole operation took less than five minutes, but as we were about to move off, the officer stood in front of the car and we were given a ticket for being ‘stopped on a restricted bus stop’.
Martyn is also concerned the incident could have a knock on effect for the viability of the Leconfield Hall.
“There’s only one entrance and it is needed by many people loading and unloading for all sorts of events - charitable and commercial - and nobody in their right mind is going to continue providing services there if they are going to get parking tickets.
“Events requiring the movement of heavy awkward articles will surely have to move to other more appropriate facilities.”
He added: “In this respect, we would expect Petworth Town Council to play an important role in ensuring this does not happen again or they will have to accept that the Leconfield Hall can no longer be used to its full capability, significantly affecting its viability and the economy of the town.
Supporting Petworth Town Band chairman of the town council Chris Kemp called for common sense over parking enforcement.
“There has got to be a balance between parking enforcement and the reasonable function of the town,” he told the Observer.
“I support the band and believe people must be allowed to load and unload close to premises in the town especially at a prominent place like the Leconfield Hall where they only need to wait for a few minutes.”
Martyn is now appealing to Chichester District Council (CDC) against the £70 fine - reduced to £35 if it is paid promptly.
A spokesman for CDC said: “The Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) has been issued correctly. The notes and photographs taken at the time support that the contravention did take place. We would advise that the organisation follow the appeals procedure if they wish to do so.”
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