Friday, 21 January 2022
A WOMAN has accused parking wardens of “taking advantage” of people attending the Remembrance Sunday parade in Wargrave after her father was given a ticket.
Chez Annetts says parking regulations should have been suspended for the event, which was attended by hundeds of people.
This was many more than normal as it was also the centenary of the 1918 Armistice.
In addition, parking was temporarily prohibited on several roads along the parade route, meaning cars on those roads had to be moved elsewhere.
Ms Annetts’ father Tony, a retired village firefighter, was attending the parade with a former colleague.
He arrived at the School Lane car park, which is operated by Wokingham Borough Council, at 8.45am on Sunday for the parade which set off at about 9.30am and arrived at St Mary’s Church at 10am.
The car park is free to use on Sundays but when Mr Annetts found it was already full, he parked in one of the temporary spaces designed for people using the recycling bins.
When he returned to his car after the parade he found a £25 fixed penalty notice affixed to the windscreen. His daughter admitted he had not parked in a designated space but he did not block other drivers or caused a danger.
Ms Annetts, of Kings Acre, Wargrave, said: “Dad arrived at the car park to find it full so he chose to park in the temporary spaces by the recycling bins. They are not marked bays so he was rightly fined.
“But I feel that as both parking in the High Street and at the church had been suspended to allow for the parade, the council might have given their parking attendants the day off.”
Ms Annetts, a nursery worker, said that as the parade was busier than in previous years, there were fewer parking spaces available.
She said: “Many more people attended than usual, many of those being elderly and needing to park as close to the parade start and the church as possible.
“Had we parked inconsiderately or dangerously, I would have understood the fine, but as the car park is free on Sundays, it seems to me the attendants were taking advantage of the overflow in the car park on such a significant day.”
She said other drivers who did the same as her father were also fined but that some drivers in the village were spared tickets, including a delivery van in High Street which blocked the parade route and forced the marchers to go round the vehicle.
Ms Annetts said: “It was quite comical as the band and marchers squeezed up or on to the path to bypass it. A ticket warden then would have been most helpful!”
Councillor Anthony Pollock, executive member for highways and transport, said: “We do understand this lady’s thoughts, especially as this was the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War so the event attracted more people than usual, as seen at similar events across the borough.
“We can only consider requests from the organisers to suspend on and off-street parking orders for the safety of parades and we weren’t asked to do that for this car park.
“If a car park is full, you must always find another place to park where there are no restrictions otherwise you face being ticketed. We must operate parking enforcement both fairly and consistently across the borough.”
• In March, Ms Annetts was among drivers fined at the same car park after a mix-up over the date at which a new hourly rate was introduced. The fines were rescinded after she complained.
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