Anger grows after free parking gaffe revealed

Cars parked in the disabled bays outside Morecambe post office on Friday afternoon.
Cars parked in the disabled bays outside Morecambe post office on Friday afternoon.

A temporary no parking zone which caught out more than 70 disabled drivers was put in place for nothing, The Visitor can reveal.

Planned roadworks which caused a week-long closure of free parking bays near the Arndale Centre never actually happened.

Anger is growing over Lancashire County Council’s refusal to waive fines issued to motorists.

Several people who contacted The Visitor have already had their appeals over their fines turned down.

Free parking was suspended in the disabled bays on Market Street between September 29 and October 5 to make way for the installation of a power pit by British Telecom.

But a spokesman for BT confirmed this week the job had been “rescheduled” for later in the year.

Motorists, many of them elderly, who parked in their usual free spaces outside the post office were slapped with £35 fines by traffic wardens.

Drivers complained that warning signs were confusing and badly positioned, with many not seeing them at all.

Roy Smith, who received a fine, said: “How can they charge you for something that never happened?”

Another motorist Linda Lightboun said: “I have appealed and had an email back. They are going to make me pay.

“Some elderly people can’t afford to pay out £35.

“It’s unfair. I take my sister into the Arndale. She is disabled. There were four of us in the car and not one of us saw the signs.”

Paul Riley, Lancashire County Council parking services manager said: “Once the bays have been taken out of use and it becomes illegal to park there we must begin enforcing as appropriate to ensure contractors can gain the access they need.

“If vehicles are parked illegally and work is not ongoing it may be the case that the work has been delayed because contractors have been unable to start work due to the parked vehicles.”

Meanwhile a taxi driver has slammed motorists who abused him when he tried to warn them about the no-parking zone. David Hodgson said he and fellow cabbies in the taxi rank opposite the parking bays “had nothing but abuse” during that week.

“We told them they have to move because parking was suspended and we got a mouthful,” he said.