Man says car parking system in Bury St Edmunds is ‘not fit for purpose’

John Hewett is appealing a parking fine which he received at Ram Meadow car park
John Hewett is appealing a parking fine which he received at Ram Meadow car park

The car parking system in Bury St Edmunds has been branded ‘not fit for purpose’ by a former resident of the town.

John Hewett, 47, an engineer who lived in Bury up until 2007, is appealing a parking fine he received at Ram Meadow car park last week, claiming he has been treated unfairly because of what he says is a flawed system operated by the council.

Mr Hewett, who returned to the town with his wife and eight-year-old son to go Christmas shopping, purchased a ticket at the car park at 10.02am on Monday, November 26, but upon his return found an excess charge notice printed at 11.20am.

The notice stated that Mr Hewett would be required to pay a penalty charge of £70 within 28 days for having ‘no valid pay and display ticket displayed’ in his vehicle.

Mr Hewett said: “I placed the ticket face up on my dashboard, but when I came back it was turned over on the wrong side.

“These paper tickets are so thin and bent the wrong way on the roll, so they tip over onto the side that they naturally want to sit on if any breeze is created within the car, even after you have left the car.

“They’re not fit for purpose. Even though you have a valid ticket, the fine will not be overturned as the council have an unfair policy of fining you for not displaying the ticket properly.”

Mr Hewett, who now lives in Norfolk, has suggested the tickets should be printed on the other side, or on both sides, to eradicate the problem, or return to the stick-on tickets which were previously used.

A spokesman for St Edmundsbury Borough and Forest Heath District Councils said: “We made the switch to paper tickets across all of our West Suffolk car parks in 2008 because people were complaining that their stick-on ticket was falling off the windscreen and landing in such a way that our parking attendants could not see if it was a valid ticket or not, plus we had complaints that they left a nasty residue on windscreens.”

He said ‘the onus is on drivers to check their ticket is displayed correctly’ and ‘it should be the last thing they do’ before they leave their 
car.