A ticket? You must be joking

Paul Hopfensberger got a parking ticket, even though the yellow lines were not valid.
Paul Hopfensberger got a parking ticket, even though the yellow lines were not valid.
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BATTLING business leader and borough councillor Paul Hopfensperger is fuming after a battle to have a parking ban enforced ended up with him getting a ticket.

Cllr Hopfensperger says he has been told by police for the past three years that they cannot enforce a ban because yellow lines in School Yard are old and broken.

But on Saturday he received a £30 parking ticket on a vehicle owned by his son – right outside the family home and business in the heart of Bury St Edmunds.

The councillor runs the Wellness Centre, on the corner of Risbygate Street and School Yard, which was used as the entrance for the redevelopment of the Cattle Market site.

And, while new yellow lines have been laid along part of School Yard, they end some way before the property owned by Mr Hopfensperger, who is chairman of Risbygate Street Traders Association.

He told the Bury Free Press: “It is ironic, and it does make me angry, that the police told me that a parking ban was un-enforceable, then they give me a parking ticket.”

He has lived at Risbygate House, for 41 years. It was a fish and chip shop run by his father, before Paul launched his personal fitness and sports massage business 15 years ago.

The 48-year-old former Suffolk County councillor has been reporting ‘illegal’ parking along School Yard for three years when, at times, vehicles have parked on both sides of the road, blocking his own side entrance and making him late for appointments.

He got his parking ticket on Saturday, when he says that for 15 minutes, he moved his son’s VW Golf outside his own gate to shuffle vehicles around as they were having a family barbecue to celebrate his mum’s 90th birthday.

“You can imagine my disbelief when I found a parking ticket on the windscreen,” said Mr Hopfensperger, whose wife Becky is also a borough and county councillor and former mayor.

He has written to police asking that the parking ticket be scrapped. He said: “How come for three years, not one of the hundreds of cars which have parked there received tickets, and yet I park there for 15 minutes, in front of my own gate and get a ticket?

“Surely the system has to be fair? Parking there is either enforceable or it is not. According to all the policemen and women I have spoken to, it is not enforceable.”

A Suffolk Police spokesman said: “Officers will issue parking tickets to vehicles when they deem it to be appropriate. However, the area clearly requires a level of review in regards to whether the double yellow lines require enforcement or not.

“If anyone wishes to appeal against a parking ticket, they should follow the instructions on the ticket or speak to the central ticket office.”

Cllr Hopfensperger’s efforts to have the parking ban enforced are part of action by Risbygate Street traders to improve the area, including removal of a hoarding put up at the start of redevelopment.

On a happier note, Cllr Hopfensperger has been told that Suffolk County Council will be re-instating the broken yellow lines outside his property.