Drivers ‘punished’ over parking fines

A COUNCILLOR has claimed drivers will be ‘punished’ if they appeal against a parking fine under new rules drafted by a Suffolk council.

Drivers in St Edmundsbury face a �50 excess charge if they commit a parking offence, which is discounted to �20 if paid within seven days.

St Edmundsbury Borough Council currently allows claimants to pay the reduced rate up to seven days after an unsuccessful appeal against the fine is made.

But in a review of the borough’s off-street car parking charges, it is proposed the reduced amount is scrapped to stop appeals by people who have ‘nothing to lose’.

David Nettleton, vice chairman of Bury Town Council, claimed: “It is against natural justice. A lot of people get very emotive about car parking charges.

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“If you appeal against a fine of any kind, you shouldn’t be punished for the full amount if the appeal isn’t upheld.”

The change forms part of a body of car parking price hikes to go before the borough council’s cabinet in the New Year.

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The excess charge itself could also rise to �70, reduced to �30 if paid within 14 days.

“I do accept some people are making spurious appeals and clogging up the system,” Mr Nettleton said.

“But people might have a genuine appeal and they could be punished for making it.”

Bury Town Council’s finance, policy and resources committee has suggested the fine be reduced to �50 within seven days if an appeal is not upheld as part of a consultation on the process.

A spokeswoman for the borough council said: “We will wait until we hear back from the town council and the other bodies we are consulting with.

“The decision on changes to excess charge penalty notices along with car parking charges will be taken by Cabinet in the New Year”.

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