Yet again it happened yesterday. Tuesday. A quiet day. Few people out and about in the town centre. But the traffic warden was out and about and he pounced.
Businesses are struggling in Ludlow. Some have already closed for ever. Others are making do. Trying to survive. The Buttery is one of those businesses aiming to come out bouncing from the horrors of lockdown. But like so many other businesses it was fined for parking two minutes longer than permitted by the wardens.
This was yet another example of how Shropshire Council is anti-business in market towns. It makes money from parking fines at the expense of our local businesses fighting for survival.
We had complained about a penalty charge notice (PCN), parking fine, on a van parked outside The Buttery on Dinham. There was a commonplace confusion in our email to officers. We thought that ten minutes was the norm when loading outside a premise. But Shropshire Council imposes a five minute rule. This is response from Shropshire Council.
I have taken a look at this case. The vehicle in question was parked on double yellow lines on Dinham in close proximity to the sharp bend with castle street, not an ideal location and probably one of the reasons why there are double yellow lines present. The officer started his observation of the vehicle at 12:11 and issued a PCN at 12:17 after providing the nationally recognised 5 minutes observation for all vehicles when parked on double yellow lined restriction (to determine whether loading of heavy/bulky items was occurring). I am not aware of the ten minute observation period to which you refer, whilst we provide a longer observation for a delivery vehicle in loading bays, this vehicle was not in a loading bay. The officer remained with the vehicle after issuing the PCN to which the driver returned to the vehicle and along with others from the premises started abusing the officer until the vehicle eventually moved at 12:27. During this time only a few small items were reportedly placed in the vehicle. As I am sure you are aware the ability to load and unload relates to specifically to large/heavy/ bulky items and a small number of food items would not meet this requirement. I would also point out that the vehicle could have been parked in the nearby on-street pay and display bay for a free 15 min period under the council pop and shop scheme in order to collect such items. These bays are on the opposite side of the road no more than 5-10 meters away and were empty at the time the PCN was issued. I am satisfied that the PCN was issued correctly and I note that the PCN has already been paid.
We have lost count of how many of these excuses we have received from the enforcement team. The excuses always follow the same pattern. We are following the law. There are alternatives. But never ever does Shropshire Council pay any attention to the local economy. The need for businesses to load close to their premises.
People pay parking fines rather than go through appeal. As councillors we support people who chose that route but we worry it allows the hard line officers in Shropshire Council to continue to drive up their revenue against economic objectives. That is all this about. Revenue.
Penalties for parking offices come under public health in Shropshire Council. That’s not a joke. But the officers responsible have no remit for public health. They have no remit for economic prosperity. There only remit is to slap as many tickets as possible on vehicles on the least excuse.
To be clear. We oppose dangerous parking and any blockage of disabled bays. But we also oppose the harsh parking fine regime. In economic terms, this is anti-social behaviour by Shropshire Council. It is time that it got on board with its market towns and stopped trying to fine them out of existence.