Couple avoid £100 parking fine

Darlington and Stockton Times: APPEAL UPHELD: Alastair and Pauline Welsh inspect the signage at the car park in St Cuthbert's Way, Darlington. Picture: ANDY WALKER APPEAL UPHELD: Alastair and Pauline Welsh inspect the signage at the car park in St Cuthbert's Way, Darlington. Picture: ANDY WALKER

AN engineering consultant who successfully appealed a parking ticket issued to his wife has jokingly suggested setting himself up as a 'Mr Loophole' for others facing fines.

Pauline Welsh was left feeling 'Brassed Off' after getting a £100 fine for parking in the car park off St Cuthbert's Way, in Darlington, on her way to the town's Civic Theatre, without paying.

Although parking charges applied at the time, Mrs Welsh did not notice the signs as it was dark.

She returned from a performance of the Willy Russell play to find she had been given a ticket by wardens acting on behalf of the private car park's operators, Excel Parking Services.

Mrs Welsh and her husband Alastair, from Newton Aycliffe, appealed the parking charge notice to London-based body Parking on Private Land Appeals (Popla).

They successfully argued that signs in and around the car park do not make it clear enough that parking charges apply.

Mrs Welsh said: "I was unaware of the requirement to purchase a ticket, had I been aware of course I would have bought one.

"I was gutted to come out of the theatre, having paid my £50 for my show ticket, to find I had been given a parking ticket."

Mr Welsh, who works as a consultant, and 65 is approaching retirement, said he should start a business appealing parking tickets given to other motorists.

He said: "I am all for reasonable charges, as long as people know about them. The answer is to make these private parking firms put up proper signs."

There are signs detailing the charges next to the pay and display machines in the car park, but the signs on the way into the car park are printed in small lettering.

The couple argued it was not reasonable to be expected to see those signs while driving in.

Popla assessor Christopher Adamson agreed.

In allowing the couple's appeal, he wrote: "I am not satisfied that it was brought to her attention.

"The entrance board provided by the operator may well have been illuminated by Mrs Welsh's headlights, but its contents are in a font so small that I am not satisfied any of it would have been legible.

"It is for the operator to bring its terms of parking to motorists if it seeks to bind them by these terms."

No one from Excel Parking Services was available for comment.

Comments (3)

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4:49pm Sat 5 Jul 14

behonest says...

How do these private car park companies get away with being able to charge such extortionate sums? £100 !! And I'll bet if you paid to park but overstayed by 10 mins or so they would still try and take you for £100.

I'm pleased this guy won his appeal. Well done, mate!
How do these private car park companies get away with being able to charge such extortionate sums? £100 !! And I'll bet if you paid to park but overstayed by 10 mins or so they would still try and take you for £100. I'm pleased this guy won his appeal. Well done, mate! behonest
  • Score: 8

6:40pm Sat 5 Jul 14

markdarlo says...

Not really news worthy is it.
Not really news worthy is it. markdarlo
  • Score: -2

9:25am Mon 7 Jul 14

Alastair welsh says...

Markdarlo,
The signs do not comply with the Act of parliament. Therefore Excel have no entitlement to Charge anything. I've faced charges of £400 (wrongly) from another Private Parking Operator amd have been threatened with court et. and harassed over months. How many innocent people have inadvertently parked without paying and then felt guilty and paid up? It is illegal to demand payment without entitlement! There is no entitlement to charge based on the notices provided. Excel now know their notices are not sufficient to allow them to charge. If they don't change their notices they can be accussed of entrapping parkers. It only takes one mug to pay £70/£100 instead of Pay-and -displaying at £1.50 per hour or whatever, to make the Site profitable!
Markdarlo, The signs do not comply with the Act of parliament. Therefore Excel have no entitlement to Charge anything. I've faced charges of £400 (wrongly) from another Private Parking Operator amd have been threatened with court et. and harassed over months. How many innocent people have inadvertently parked without paying and then felt guilty and paid up? It is illegal to demand payment without entitlement! There is no entitlement to charge based on the notices provided. Excel now know their notices are not sufficient to allow them to charge. If they don't change their notices they can be accussed of entrapping parkers. It only takes one mug to pay £70/£100 instead of Pay-and -displaying at £1.50 per hour or whatever, to make the Site profitable! Alastair welsh
  • Score: 0
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