Council chiefs say sorry for fines blunder

COUNCIL chiefs have issued an apology after it emerged drivers who had paid their parking fines had been sent reminder warning letters.

Babergh District Council had ended Sudbury and Hadleigh’s long-cherished free parking status earlier this year and now charges people wanting to stay in town for more than three hours.

However, just weeks after the new tariff system was brought in it has emerged some drivers issued with parking tickets have been slapped with payment reminders – despite already having paid their fines.

Babergh blamed the problem on an “administrative error” and said it had sent letters of apology to those affected.

A spokesman for the authority said: “Unfortunately an administrative error at Babergh meant seven people who had already paid their car parking charge notices were sent reminders for payment.

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“As soon as we were made aware of this mistake, the system was double checked to resolve the error and we sent letters of apology to those affected.”

Some of those affected have raised the matter with Sudbury Town Council which runs a Babergh-funded advice centre and collects parking revenue for the district council.

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Town clerk Sue Brotherwood said: “We understand they (Babergh) have sent out demands when the fines have already been paid. It is unfortunate.”

Last month, Babergh announced it would be increasing parking fines in Sudbury and Hadleigh at a date to be confirmed.

Parking fines not paid within 14 days will rise from �45 to �55 – an increase of 22%. Fees for fines paid within 14 days will increase from �15 to �25 – up 67%.

The council’s decision to introduce charging in its long-stay car parks have proved controversial, with residents complaining of an increase in motorists parking in residential streets in order to avoid the �1.50 daily charge.

The charging regime was also opposed by businesses who feared a drop in town centre footfall. The new tariff system was brought in to raise revenue in the face of a reductions to its grant from central Government.

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