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Unnecessary parking charges in Hampshire

PUBLISHED: 10:29 10 August 2015 | UPDATED: 10:29 10 August 2015

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Getty Images/iStockphoto

Archant

Ever paid a fine you thought you didn’t deserve? Alice Cooke looks in to the unnecessary charges being demanded the width and breadth of the county

Last month I was interested to read the story of Lesley Anderson in the local press. Lesley was charged £100 for parking outside a property on a residential estate. After a lengthy court battle she has now had the fine overturned. The estate in question was the St Mary’s Park development in Hartley Wintney.

She had received the £100 parking charge demand, issued by UKPC, for “parking briefly at night” in Damson Drive. But there was no visible warning that she should not have been parking there, and no indication in the street markings.

After UKPC refused to cancel the charge, Mrs Anderson appealed to Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA), the private land parking appeal tribunal, who eventually upheld her appeal and cancelled the charge. What a palaver for the poor woman.

But were you to be in the same position, would you be brave enough to fight it? Or would you assume that the authority in question must be in the right? Because they wouldn’t be trying to do you out of your hard-earned cash unduly, right?

Every year in Hampshire alone over £50,000 of fines (not just for parking) are paid unnecessarily. Have you been duped? How would you even know if you had? And isn’t it awful that there are people on our own doorsteps who are making a living out of other people’s confusion and/or trust in the establishment.

Fleet resident and parking campaigner Peter Ashford says that on examining the parking ticket, it is in fact “defective.” He visited St Mary’s Park, where Mrs Anderson’s parking incident occurred, and upon closer inspection identified not one but 13 “serious defects” in UKPC’s operation, “any one of which justified cancellation of its £100 demand”, he says.

But sadly this is not an isolated case. It is operations like this that hit the elderly and the vulnerable the hardest, but that is not to say they don’t hit those of us who consider ourselves to be (wrongly or rightly) fairly on the ball.

Mr Ashford said he was delighted to have helped Mrs Anderson, saying: “Lesley is rightly concerned about drivers being misled and conned at other new estates, which must be signed as private land at all entrances. I hope this case will prevent a repetition of this elsewhere.”

Sadly for every rogue parking enforcement, there is not always a Mr Ashford to step in and help. And in most cases I am not convinced that many would even realise that they’d been diddled. It doesn’t say much for the milk of human kindness really, but in the meantime I suggest that we all remain vigilant, both for ourselves and also our loved ones. We all work hard to earn a living, and we don’t deserve this kind of treatment. Unless you think that perhaps this is a due come-uppance for those who are mad enough not to question? Do get in touch and let me know what you think.

At the time of going to press (July issue), UKPC were unavailable for comment.

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