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Motorists' persecution is set to increase - by ALAN FRANKLIN

Motorists already under police persecution along the A325 and elsewhere in Rushmoor - you're a criminal at 36 mph -have seen nothing yet.

Motorists already under police persecution along the A325 and elsewhere in Rushmoor - you're a criminal at 36 mph -have seen nothing yet.

Still more fines and restrictions are to be showered on them, this time by Rushmoor Council.

From June 5, 15 traffic wardens will be unleashed on an unsuspecting populace. Whereas the parking regime has been lenient until now, with only two full and one part-time wardens in Farnborough and Aldershot, plus nine car park staff; the new model army of enforcers will be issuing tickets day and night.

The parking fines shoot up from £40 to £60 and the enforcers will be on duty seven days a week - no more getting away with anything on Sundays or late at night.

The bill for overstaying your time in Rushmoor car parks rockets from £20 to £60. The £60 is discounted to £30 if the fines are paid in 14 days, but this could make a day's shopping rather expensive for the forgetful.

The council aims to make the scheme "self financing." This means the numbers of tickets must rise to pay for three new staff. (The existing nine car park staff will in future have a dual role as wardens).

Anything more calculated to stir up anger and drive away business would be hard to imagine.

It is true that thoughtless parkers in some areas are a real nuisance, and need to be hounded. For the lazy or silly who put pedestrians in danger there will be no hiding place. However, in these crowded, mainly Victorian town centres, built up for the most part long before cars became so common, many of us have to park "illegally" in order to do our jobs, like loading, unloading and - yes - reporting and selling advertisement space

Those of us at the sharp end, making a living in a competitive world, do not always have the time to park in a car park and walk half a mile to see someone.

As someone who has lived in homes all over Rushmoor I also know that in the evenings many residents, living in terraces or other homes without parking provision, often have to park "illegally" in order to get anywhere near their homes. For the most part, this does little harm.

Anyone thinking of coming to Rushmoor to live or set up business may start looking for a more congenial area, where they and their staff are not constantly fined and harassed just because they drive cars.

Jim Pettitt, Rushmoor's roads chief, says the new regime will tread softly at first. We'll see - and we'll be watching you, Jim.


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