Blow to council’s hard line on pay-not-display parking tickets

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THE design of parking tickets in Bury St Edmunds may be checked as the council takes a hard line on those who fail to display.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council’s penalty for car park infringements is a £30 fine, rising to £70 after two weeks. But this year it decided anyone who loses an appeal against an enforcement notice pays £70, regardless. At the same time it takes a harder line on those who say they paid but whose ticket was displayed face down or not at all.

Katie Green believes her ticket was dislodged when her mother returned to the car at the arc car park to change her baby’s nappy. She appealed twice against her fine, producing her ticket, and said: “I have a shop and to me this is like accusing a customer of shoplifting and then when they show me the receipt I call the police and have them arrested.”

Cllr Terry Clements, St Edmundsbury’s portfolio holder for transport, said when someone produced a ticket later, there was no way of knowing it was issued to them. He said the only answer to that was a parking meter requiring the driver to punch in a car’s number.

He added: “The last thing I do when I leave the car is to make sure after I shut the doors that the ticket is facing upwards.”

Cllr Clements said he would investigate the possibility that tickets could be dislodged by draughts blowing through the fresh air vents on car dashboards.

Cllr Clements said: “I will take this up. This is new to me but at the end of the day we are talking about a small amount of people when you consider how many are parking in Bury.”

A council spokesman said failed appeals no longer got the £40 discount to help pay for the cost of dealing with them.

But the Taxpayers’ Alliance said: “With these changes, parking inspectors will be able to hand out unfair parking tickets safe in the knowledge that they are less likely to be challenged.”