£150k of parking fines in 'no lines' steets

COULD there be plans to pave Ipswich town centre streets in gold? That's the question being asked today after it emerged £155,000 worth of tickets have been handed to cars in a small area in just 12 months.

ARE town chiefs hoping to pave this Ipswich street in pure gold?

That is the question many people will be asking today after it emerged a staggering £155,000 worth of tickets have been handed to cars parking there in the space of just 12 months.

An Evening Star investigation has revealed that between September 2006 and October this year an astounding 2,590 £60 tickets were handed out in just three small streets in the town centre.

The streets in question, St Nicholas Street, St Peter's Street and Silent Street, make up part of Ipswich's “outstanding central conservation area” and do not have yellow lines for aesthetic reasons.

Earlier this month the Star revealed that 1,100 tickets were handed out in just five months on the streets but the latest figures show the true extent of the situation.

Amazingly the 12 months prior to the incredible £155,000 return - between October 2005 and September 2006 - a total of just 296 tickets were dished out generating a modest £17,760.

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It is understood the huge nine-fold increase has come about after council-employed traffic wardens began evening patrols in the town.

The St Nicholas and St Peter's Street area is a popular evening venue with a host of bars and restaurants.

Bosses at Ipswich Borough Council are concerned at the number of tickets being handed out and have given the green light to a number of measures aimed at making motorists aware of the restrictions.

These include introducing a further 11 parking bays to the area as well as erecting larger, clearer signs.

Meanwhile transport chief Paul West said he has spoken to council officers in his department to ask them if a “more sympathetic approach” can be taken by traffic wardens.

He added that council traffic wardens do not work to targets and any money made from penalty tickets goes back into enforcement or other transport schemes.

Cllr West said: “I'm not happy with the situation where the council hands out a big proportion of its tickets in three streets where those three streets are not really causing problems at the time they are generally used.

“The last thing we want is for people who genuinely think they can park there, but do not realise the technicality of the rules, to come back and find they have got a ticket.”

N Do you think motorists in this area have been unfairly targeted? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

In the five months between September 2006 and January 2007, a total of 6,192 parking tickets were dished out for parking on yellow lines or in a restricted zone in Ipswich.

Of these, 1,130, close to one in five, were handed out in the St Nicholas Street and St Peter's Street area.

This works out at around seven a day and makes up 62per cent of the 1,825 tickets handed out in Ipswich town centre during that period.