Felixstowe: Drivers warned over parking charges after volunteer slapped with ticket while helping visually impaired person


FELIXSTOWE: A volunteer angry at receiving a parking fine while helping a visually-impaired person is today calling on the police to make a donation to charity in recompense.

Norman Thompson, chairman of the Felixstowe East Suffolk Association for the Blind (ESAB) charity, believes he has been treated unfairly – and wants Suffolk police to give a donation to his group to make up for it.

He left his car in Felixstowe’s new �2.8 million shared space area in Hamilton Road and received the �30 fine even though he is a holder of a disabled permit for ESAB.

Between Boots and Bank Corner, only disabled blue badge holders and delivery vehicles are allowed to park, and they must park only in the black bays.

Between the banks and the top of Bent Hill, parking is open to all, but only on the Argos side of the road. No parking at all is allowed on the opposite side.

The area has no yellow lines, but signs on lamp-posts to tell drivers of the changes.

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Mr Thompson, of Montague Road, Felixstowe, said he was away from his vehicle for five minutes, guiding a visually-impaired person to a coffee morning at Trinity Methodist Church.

“I parked as close to the church as possible, as I always do on a Monday morning,” he said.

“What upset me most was that I was not given a warning.

“The restrictions had changed very quickly in this area and I was not aware.

“If the officer had told me of the offence, then I would have taken that on board and certainly not parked there again in future.”

Mr Thompson said he would be advising his fellow drivers of the extension to the restrictions.

“I think it’s very unfair to fine someone without warning, especially someone clearly working for charity with an organisational badge and providing a welfare service to a disabled group.

“I think the police should reciprocate by giving a similar donation to my fine to the charity,” he said.

In a letter, Suffolk police said Mr Thompson’s concerns had been examined, but there appeared to be no grounds for cancelling the parking ticket.

“The disabled badge scheme offers considerable concessions, but badge users have a responsibility to familiarise themselves with, and avoid, the comparatively few areas where such a badge is not valid,” said the letter.

? What do you think of the new parking restrictions? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich IP4 1AN, or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk