Parking fines in Fleet branded a 'lottery'By Stephen LLoyd
March 19, 2013
PARKING tickets issued in Fleet have been branded a ‘lottery’ by an angry motorist.
Dominic Chinn hit out after receiving a parking ticket in the Gurkha Square car park – the Farnborough resident arrived at the town centre car park at 7.21pm on February 28.
“I inspected the parking notice and came to the conclusion, after a while of trying to work out the information provided, that 80p would be required for me to park in the car park for the rest of the night until 8am the following morning,” said Mr Chinn.
“I paid 90p as I had no smaller change and displayed the ticket.
“My friend, who arrived at the same time, also bought a ticket for 90p after also understanding from the display this was sufficient and his car was parked next to mine.”
Mr Chinn, a 31-year-old software developer, went for an evening curry with friends in the nearby Prince Arthur pub but was dismayed to find a ticket on his car when he returned.
“There were tickets on a number of cars near mine but my friend didn’t have one and neither did another friend who arrived after us and paid the same amount,” he said.
Mr Chinn, of Malvern Road, wrote to Hart District Council demanding to know why the other cars were not given a notice.
Warning the parking sign is not clear enough in the car park, Mr Chinn added: “I had not avoided paying the £2 nightly charge on purpose, I would have paid this had it been clear it was due.
“I looked at the sign and thought there was no charge for a night ticket.
“The amount of information on the sign combined with the darkness meant it was very difficult to decipher what amount was required.”
Hart rejected Mr Chinn’s appeal and he has since paid the £25 fine.
“What started as a £10 curry ended up being a £35 one,” said Mr Chinn.
“My friend parked his car next to mine, bought his ticket a minute after mine paying the same amount and he didn’t receive a ticket. It seems to be a lottery as to whether you will get a ticket or not.”
John Elson, Hart District Council’s head of technical and environmental services, said the penalty charge was issued correctly and the appeal was considered in accordance with the nationally agreed appeals procedure.
“I cannot comment on why Mr Chinn’s friend did not receive a ticket as we have no record of this vehicle,” he added.
“However, if the same payment was made, and the ticket was purchased at approximately the same time, then the vehicle would have been liable to receive a penalty charge at the time the charge was issued on Mr Chinn’s vehicle.”
Gavin Evans, Hart’s cabinet member for Fleet, said: “While I think the signs are clear if you read them carefully, I do not think most people expect to still be paying day charges when they arrive after 6pm to go out in the evening.
“That is why we are already in the process of moving the evening charge start time to 6pm.
“Hopefully this will stop any confusion and make parking in Fleet town centre a more pleasant experience.”