'I'll make a stand over parking fine'

A DEFIANT mother-of-two has vowed to fight a parking fine through the courts after claiming changes to ticket rules were not adequately signposted.

Dave Gooderham

A DEFIANT mother-of-two has vowed to fight a parking fine through the courts after claiming changes to ticket rules were not adequately signposted.

Babergh District Council changed the rules over free parking in Sudbury in August. Although parking in the town remains free, drivers run the risk of being fined if they stay beyond an allotted time.

One of those caught was Louise Sharp, from Drinkstone, but she claims there were not enough signs telling the public about the changes.

Her claims are strongly denied by the council which said it had given “sufficient warning”.

Mrs Sharp said: “I feel very strongly about this as I don't believe Babergh put sufficient signage in the car parks. There should have at least been a sign at the entrance as I had no idea the ticketing structure had changed.

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“The council should have used its own discretion at the start when there should have been a period of grace. Babergh claimed that the changes were promoted heavily beforehand but I don't even live anywhere near Sudbury.

“I am not relishing going to court but I think it is wrong and I hope this will help others. Now I know you have to get tickets, of course I would always get one but I have learnt the hard way.”

Mrs Sharp received the parking ticket just four days after the new structure was put in place in August aimed at easing traffic flow in the market town. Motorists must now display free tickets in short stay car parks - restricting them to three hours.

She was initially fined £15 but when she refused to pay it within seven days, it went up to £45.

“I was stunned when I saw that I had got a ticket,” said Mrs Sharp. “I was going to just pay the fine but it didn't feel right. I have appealed three times with my chief complaint that I wasn't aware of the changes because of inadequate signage.

“The last letter I received from Babergh said I had seven days to pay the £45 or they would start proceedings in the magistrates courts.

“I don't think Babergh wanted to change its stance as it would set a precedent and the council would have to admit that it got it wrong.”

A spokesman for the council said: “Babergh believes that one of the reasons that less than 2% of users have incurred a fixed penalty notice over the last two months is down to the fact that there has been sufficient warning of this new system.

“However, we are always looking at ways of further enhancing the impact of such information and will continue to monitor the situation in future weeks and months.

“Each individual concerned is at liberty to either pay the fine or risk facing legal action. To date over four out of every five drivers issued with a fixed penalty notice has paid within seven days and so avoided the steeper fine of £45.”

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