Traffic wardens ‘need to show compassion’

Spec Savers'Staff upset  with council parking attendants, over parking issues with customers'PA1207-10'Pictured'Alistair Segal & Wendy Gaines
Spec Savers'Staff upset with council parking attendants, over parking issues with customers'PA1207-10'Pictured'Alistair Segal & Wendy Gaines

COMPLAINTS have been flooding in to the Free Press office from digruntled motorists since East Riding council took over parking enforcement in the town.

The council began to enforce parking restrictions on double yellow lines and time restricted parking bays in the town in November last year, taking over from Humberside Police and extending their remit from simply patrolling their own pay and display car parks.

Staff at Specsavers opticians, in King Street, wrote to the Free Press last week saying they believed the new traffic wardens should show more “compassion and understanding” when it comes to enforcing parking.

They said that earlier this month, a customer with a blue badge parked in front of the store in King Street, as there are no disabled parking spaces available next to the store.

A member of staff spotted a council officer near the car and went to explain the situation, but was told that “he could not waive the ticket unless the car was moved immediately”.

The staff had to then help the driver back to his car, put his wheelchair away and help him to a nearby car park, and then help him back again after his appointment – even reversing the car out of a tight spot as the man could not squeeze in to the tight space.

The staff said in the letter: “It is our intention at Specsavers to offer the highest level of customer service possible, but maybe there are other stores where it would have not been possible for their staff to have helped in this way.

“We can understand why people are shopping on the internet and visiting out of town facilities when they have to deal with the stress that this situation can cause to an elderly person.”

(Read the full letter on page 10)

East Riding of Yorkshire council has said that is has made no changes to the rules regarding blue badge holders, despite the complaints of other disabled car users in the town.

A number of blue badge holders have told the Free Press that they have received tickets for parking for too long in short-stay, on-street parking.

One blue badge holder, who has asked not to ne named, lives in Scarborough but comes to Bridlington to go shopping, and said she received a ticket after parking for longer than an hour on Prospect Street. Another unlucky motorist to receive a contested ticket was Free Press delivery driver, Tony Wigley.

He had parked in a loading bay on Cross Street in Bridlington while delivering newspapers to a nearby newsagents, but still received a ticket.

Despite appealling, a fine of £35 still stood because the council say they “observed no loading or unloading activity” for seven minutes.

In a letter rejecting the appeal, the council state their rules say although loading and unloading may involve other tasks such as completing paperwork, the civil enforcement officer is only entitled to observe the vehicle for five minutes.

Mr Wigley said: “I have been delivering newspapers for 44 years, and I have never had this problem. In fact, the police traffic wardens always advised me to park in a loading bay and display my sticker on the dashboard, which I did.

“So I was quite surprised to find I was getting a ticket when I returned. The warden told me that it was because I was in a car, not a van or truck.

“There is nothing on the signs to say that cars weren’t classed as goods vehicles. If they are making changes to the rules, then it would have been nice to have a warning.”

However, despite criticisms that the traffic officers are being too strict when handing out tickets, the council say they have a fair system of appeal.

A spokesperson confirmed that of the 961 Penalty Charge Notices issued across the East Riding in December 2011, 78 where successfully challenged – 32 of those in the Bridlington area.

While of the 998 tickets issued in the East Riding in January, 64 where successfully challenged and of these successful challenges, 18 were in Bridlington.