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Council waives fine after parking row

PUBLISHED: 17:27 12 October 2001 | UPDATED: 15:18 03 March 2010

MOTORISTS using a popular car park in central Ipswich have been caught out in a mix-up over new pay and display machines.

Ipswich Council has had to tear up 25 parking tickets after admitting that changes to the NCP-run Cox Lane car park caused confusion in its own Upper Barclay Street Park next to it.

MOTORISTS using a popular car park in central Ipswich have been caught out in a mix-up over new pay and display machines.

Ipswich Council has had to tear up 25 parking tickets after admitting that changes to the NCP-run Cox Lane car park caused confusion in its own Upper Barclay Street Park next to it.

Work has now taken place in Upper Barclay Street to separate the council's car park – which ironically is cheaper – from its neighbour.

A one-metre high plastic fence has been put in place and a series of signs put up pointing to the council's ticket machine and saying the NCP tickets are not valid for the council's part of the site.

Motorist Steve Page was facing pay and dismay after being given a parking fine.

But today he won his battle against the parking fine after borough council chiefs admitted the signs for their car park were no longer good enough because of changes to the NCP one alongside.

Mr Page, a Felixstowe businessman and former town and district councillor, believed he had genuinely tried to buy a ticket to park.

"I got out of my car and there just a few yards away was a choice of two ticket machines – I tried both, but both were out of order," he said.

"I thought there was nothing else I could do, I had tried to buy a ticket, and so off I went off into the town.

"When I came back there was a warden putting a ticket on my car. I could not believe it. But when I tried to point out that the machines were out of order, he said those were not the machines for this land – and pointed out one on the corner of the entry street, well away from where I was parked.

"There were no signs pointing to it at all."

Mr Page refused to pay his parking fine and Ipswich Borough Council said the matter would be taken to the magistrates' court.

"I wrote back and told them that their signs in this area were rubbish and they could take me to court because I felt I had a very strong case and I would win," said Mr Page.

"A few days later I had a letter saying they agreed and the signs were not good enough, and my fee would be waived.

"I am delighted but I just wonder how many other people have received tickets and been caught out and paid their fines when they need not have done, or how many other people's tickets have the council had to write-off."

A spokeswoman for the council said today that confusion had broken out after the NCP car park became pay and display after years of being operated by a barrier and staff method.

NCP had positioned its ticket machines near the council's car park and around 25 people had been caught out.

All these people had had their ticket waived or if they had paid, have been reimbursed.

"We have now taken action to make sure people are aware that this is council land and they should not purchase tickets from the NCP machines. We had to put the tickets on the cars to make sure people were aware of that, but we appreciated they had made a mistake and have waived those fees," she said.

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