New matchday parking rules claim victims

A CHANGE in the way parking restrictions are enforced around Portman Road on a football matchday has claimed its first victims.

A CHANGE in the way parking restrictions are enforced around Portman Road on a football matchday has claimed its first victims.

Prior to Saturday's game between Ipswich Town and Derby County, Suffolk police used cones to clearly warn drivers where they were not permitted to leave their cars.

However, Ipswich Borough Council has now taken over enforcement, with drop-down signs attached to lamp posts and walls informing motorists where they should not park.

A handful of unfortunate drivers fell foul of the change on Saturday, returning to their cars after the match to find a fine notice stuck to their windscreen.

They will have to fork out £70, or £35 if paid within two weeks.

The council first took over parking enforcement in the borough of Ipswich in September 2005 but, until Saturday, police had continued to oversee parking on matchdays.

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The new arrangement was agreed between the council and police to allow officers to spend more time concentrating on the safety of fans and providing a more visible presence around the stadium.

However, Ipswich supporters at Saturday's game gave the initiative the thumbs down.

Jack Palmer, from Bury St Edmunds, said: “It is a bit wrong really. The signs aren't clear.”

Clive Reeve, of Camden Road, Ipswich, added: “We have parked here for years and it has always been the same. I didn't even notice the sign.”

Pc Marc Norman, football intelligence officer for Suffolk Constabulary, defended the change.

“On face value it may seem a big change to have the cones replaced by signs,” he said. “However, as long as the public adhere to the signs there will be no problems.”

Ian Booth, council road safety manager, added: “We are pleased to be working with Suffolk Constabulary on improving enforcement on match days, allowing police officers to deal with the fans attending the game to maximise enjoyment for all present.”

n. Were you caught out by the change? Call The Evening Star newsdesk on 01473 324789 or e-mail starnews@eveningstar.co.uk