A WOKINGHAM man caught out by a parking fine said the council can’t expect him to keep checking their website for updates.
Martyn Osment parked in a disabled bay on Denmark Street on Tuesday, June 23 — even though he is not a blue badge holder.
As an NHS volunteer responder, Mr Osment was issued with a Covid-19 health, care and volunteer workers parking pass.
But it does not apply to on-street disabled bays.
Government guidance states: “Any parking outside of the concessions guidance may result in the receipt of a parking charge notice (PCN).”
Mr Osment told Wokingham.Today: “I was helping a shielding resident by posting a package for them at WH Smith, which is now the town’s main Post Office.
“I parked outside in the disabled bay, as I was previously told by a traffic warden that parking restrictions are eased due to the pandemic, and it was okay to park there.”
On Wednesday, March 25, the borough council announced it would stop parking enforcement.
In a social media post, the council said: “We are relaxing our car parking enforcement across the borough. We will not be enforcing restrictions in our car parks, and will be relaxing rules elsewhere, with the exception of blue badge disabled parking bays, residents’ parking schemes, dangerous or obstructive parking and double yellow lines.”
All parking enforcement was then reinstated on Friday, May 29, and was reported
Mr Osment said: “A traffic warden approached my car, and I told him about the previous warden’s comments. But he put a parking ticket on my car.
“When I returned home,
I contacted Geoff Hislop, the parking manager at Wokingham Borough Council and explained my position.
“He told me that I should not have parked there, sent me the council update on the website and said I should have checked before parking where I did.”
Mr Osment said he submitted a formal appeal, which was rejected. He then paid the £35 fine.
He added: “It’s not the £35 fine, it’s the fact the council wants us to check its website for updates.
“Wokingham Borough Council is heartless, uncaring and inflexible.”
Cllr Pauline Jorgensen, executive member for highways and transport at Wokingham Borough Council, said: “We support the great work that NHS volunteer responders like Mr Osment are doing for our communities and there are many car parks where they are entitled to park for free while carrying out their valuable work.
“However, unfortunately Mr Osment parked in a disabled bay without being a blue badge holder.
“As our parking manager explained to Mr Osment in writing, the Government guidelines state that the parking pass and concession for coronavirus health, care and volunteer workers is not valid for use in disabled bays and anyone parking outside of the concessions guidance may receive a parking charge notice.
“We understand that the location of the disabled bays are more convenient to park in due to their location but this to allow blue badge holders easier access to facilities.
“If we allow drivers without blue badges to park in these spaces we are taking away spaces from those they are intended for, those who really need them.”