Woman’s fury over council parking fine after paying for all day ticket

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A furious hairdresser says she was given a penalty charge notice despite having paid £3 to park in a council owned car park.

Jessica Ledwards paid the £3 fee to park all day on Snow Hill Car Park in Nantwich, which is covered by the Cheshire East local authority.

Standard parking fines start at £35 if paid within 14 days and escalate to £70 after that.

Speaking to Cheshire Live, the salon manager explained that she had paid at a machine on Snow Hill using the PayByPhone app, but when she returned to her car she found a parking ticket had been slapped on the windscreen.

Jessica, the manager of Regis Hair Salon on the High Street, said: “I paid for my parking on Snow Hill. It located it on my phone and when I came back to my car I had a parking fine. I knew that wasn’t right because I’d paid.”

It was only then she noticed the parking receipt had been issued for First Wood Car Park – even though she used the machine at Snow Hill.

Nantwich councillor Peter Groves (Con) said: “There is clearly something wrong when you’re in Snow Hill, you try and pay on Snow Hill but it shows on your phone that you’ve paid for First Wood Street. The lady thought she had paid to park in Snow Hill.”

Cheshire East said under the circumstances outlined here, there would be grounds for an appeal. The council said each case is assessed on its merits and Jessica can appeal by following the guidelines on the reverse of the penalty charge notice.

A spokesperson said: “We will review the barcoding in Snow Hill to ensure this issue does not recur.”

The council also acknowledged, on yet another separate day, that two of its three machines on Snow Hill weren’t working and would not accept cash. There were concerns that visitors to the town may have been fined because the only working machine would only be known to locals because it is out of view from the main car park.

Cllr Craig Browne, chair of the highways committee, said: “It was unfortunate that two of the three parking machines on the Snow Hill car park had broken, due to wear and tear, but these were repaired as quickly as possible. Customers are still able to pay by phone in these circumstances or use the remaining functioning parking machine.”

He added: “Penalty charge notices are not routinely issued by our parking enforcement officers where it is unreasonable to expect users to have paid. Furthermore, anyone who feels they have been ticketed unlawfully can appeal by following the information on the notice they have been given.”

This latest parking farce comes after drivers in Crewe were fined for parking on Oak Street Car Park even though they had paid through the app. The council had closed the car park – but Crewe and Nantwich MP Kieran Mullan (Con) says drivers would have been unaware of the closure because it was only advertised by plain white notices on lamp posts.

Despite indicating any appeals would be considered sympathetically, the MP says Cheshire East has denied appeals by a number of motorists, including staff from his office.

Dr Mullan said: “This is very disappointing and I have written to the council to ask them to think again. If the car park had a proper prominent sign or a barrier put up, if the machine was bagged up, if the app wasn’t allowing people to book, none of this would have happened.

“The council shouldn’t dig their heals in, they should just recognise this wasn’t done properly, apologise and squash the fines. I will be supporting anyone who doesn’t pay theirs and challenges it.”

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