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Parking sign obscured by tree

PUBLISHED: 16:33 21 August 2008 | UPDATED: 11:37 03 July 2010

DISABLED badge holders are being urged to be careful when they park in one of Great Yarmouth's public car parks - after the signs warning they are no longer exempt from parking charges were obscured from view.

DISABLED badge holders are being urged to be careful when they park in one of Great Yarmouth's public car parks - after the signs warning they are no longer exempt from parking charges were obscured from view.

Lisa Buckland, of Jenner Road, Gorleston, had parked her Vauxhall Zafira in the disabled bays at the borough council-owned car park behind Palmer's superstore in

Market Place believing that as a badge holder she did not have to pay

charges.

But when she returned an hour later she found a £65 penalty notice attached to her windscreen, although she had not seen any signs stating she now had to pay to park.

Her husband, photographer Richard Buckland, visited the car park shortly afterwards on August 8 and discovered the sign hidden beneath the canopy of the tree next to the disabled bays so only the post itself was on view. He said he could not see the sign until he peered underneath the tree.

The wording is: 'Disabled badge holders are not exempt even when parking in the disabled bays.'

Mr Buckland added the only other warning about the changes introduced on July 1 was printed on the ticket machine, which badge holders were unlikely to visit if they did not think they had to pay.

“It was a bit of a shock for her. Personally I knew the council was going to remove the exemptions but thought they would be putting notices on cars for the first few weeks warning motorists of the changes.

“But they have only just introduced the changes and are already issuing £65 fines for invisible signs.”

He has phoned the council to appeal against the fine on the grounds the sign could not be seen.

Michael Chillingworth, parking services manager with the borough council, said contractors from GYB Services had erected the sign by mistake beside the tree and the branches had since grown to obscure it from view.

However, he said the contractors returned on August 11 to move the sign to a more prominent position on an electricity sub-station wall at the car park.

Mr Chillingworth added any parking tickets issued before the sign was relocated would be cancelled, including Mrs Buckland's. He urged her to write to the council so the fine could be rescinded.

The new parking rules were introduced following a borough council consultation with disabled motorists to determine what improvements they would like to see in the council's car parks.

The results showed some had asked for larger spaces, and the council decided to fund the improvements by asking disabled drivers to pay parking fees.

Mr Chillingworth said there

had been widespread publicity about the changes, but the council did not start issuing parking tickets until a month after the changes were introduced to allow time for the disabled to become accustomed to the new rules.

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