Torn Natalie Imbruglia
17 July 2012, 06:00
Council bosses are being accused of cashing in on a charity event after £70 parking tickets were issued to people taking part in St Albans' Race For Life.
Wet conditions meant parking was limited near the Cancer Research UK fundraising event at St Albans' Verulamium Park on Sunday 15 July 2012.
Twenty four people were fined for parking on verges on St Albans' Bluehouse Hill.
Heart has been contacted by a number of these people who feel outraged about being fined while they were taking part in Race For Life.
One of them, Duli Agallili, says she feels as though St Albans District Council are 'cashing in' on people who were just trying to help charity.
Another, Trish Woodgate, thinks this is going to put people off taking part next year.
"If you're going to have the possibility of getting a ticket and they don't provide somewhere for you to park people will go somewhere else like the Watford or Luton one," she said.
Trish says she's going to appeal her ticket.
St Albans City and District Council have issued Heart with this statement from Mike Lovelady, Head of Legal, Democratic and Regulatory Services:
“Parking restrictions on Bluehouse Hill have been put in place for safety reasons - this is a busy road with fast moving traffic – and because parking on grass verges can cause a great deal of damage, especially in waterlogged conditions.
“The signage in place clearly states that people who park on the verges at Bluehouse Hill risk incurring a penalty notice. Extra signage warns that the Council is enforcing parking restrictions on Bluehouse HIll and has been doing so since 2 July. For several weeks before that date, we issued cars parked there with warning notices.
“Due to waterlogged conditions it was not possible to provide overflow parking within Westminster Lodge, as we would normally hope to do. We worked with the organisers of an event taking place in the park – The Race For Life – to provide alternative parking facilities, one of which was the council’s own car park. Other free parking within the Council’s car parks in St Albans was available all day on Sunday. We understand that the organisers e-mailed the competitors to inform them of the changes to the parking provision and car park stewards were on hand to redirect people to the alternative parking.
“There is never a good time to start enforcement action, and we are sorry that some of the people who parked there were taking part in the Race for Life. However, if we are serious about deterring parking in Bluehouse Hill, and we are for good reasons, then we have to treat everyone fairly.
“A total of 24 penalty charges were issued on Bluehouse Hill on Sunday. Drivers who have received a penalty notice and believe they should not have to pay it, should contact the Council. We will consider all cases on their individual circumstances, and within the rules that have been agreed.”