Council moves quickly to rectify “unfortunate” parking ticket issue after mourners fined for parking outside Lavenham Church

Lavenham Church. The Church of St Peter and St Paul.

Lavenham Church. The Church of St Peter and St Paul. - Credit: Archant

A council has acted “quickly and compassionately” to cancel parking tickets that were issued to mourners attending the funeral of a popular west Suffolk woman earlier this week.

Around 500 people turned out to pay their respects to well-known Lavenham woman Diane Sparling, 59, who passed away on July 2 after a short illness.

A handful of those attending the service at Lavenham Church on Monday left their cars on an area in the public car park that is reserved for turning vehicles, and eight were given tickets.

Some took to Twitter to air their grievances while others complained to Babergh District Council, which owns the free car park.

Yesterday, the council’s head of parking services, Chris Fry, apologised for the incident which he described as unfortunate.

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He said: “Unfortunately a number of funeral mourners found parking tickets issued after their cars were left outside of marked bays and on hatched lines reserved for turning vehicles in the car park at the back of The Cock Inn.

“We had not been made aware, either in advance or on the day, that a funeral of this scale was taking place and this may be the reason for the way in which these vehicles were parked.

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“Our warden acted correctly and parking fines were issued.”

He added: “As soon as we were made aware of the circumstances of the situation – just over an hour after the tickets being issued – we acted compassionately and quickly, and made plans to cancel all of them.”

Last night, a council spokeswoman said that six out of the eight people ticketed had already come forward with their details and their tickets had now been cancelled.

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