'Confusing' sign blamed for Wimbledon couple's five parking tickets in a week
An angry driver is challenging Merton Council after receiving five parking tickets in a week despite owning a resident’s parking permit.
Corina Sampson and her partner left their car on Raymond Road nearer Wimbledon town centre on Sunday, June 16, as they believed, as permit holders, they could park there for free.
The couple returned to the car on Friday evening and discovered five PCNs on their windshield, demanding a total fine of £150.
Ms Sampson, 27, has refused to pay the penalty charge, which has now increased to £300, as she believes the parking sign is deliberately misleading in an attempt to increase earnings through parking tickets.
She said: "We have decided to challenge the tickets, as we would like to ensure that no-one else has to unfairly contribute to the £2.5 million revenue gained by Merton Council for on-street fines.
"The sign is confusing and needs to be changed."
In all her anger, Ms Sampson requested a Freedom of Information into parking charges and carried out a survey among her friends and family, showing that only 17 per cent fully understood the meaning of the sign.
In the period of 2013/14, Merton Council collected more than £2.1m through on-street parking tickets, an increase by nearly 200,000 since 2011/2012.
The amount of money collected from traffic fines in Merton has grown by 1.5 million over the past two years.
Ms Sampson continued: "We won't have the council bully us into paying unfair and incorrectly issued fines.
"The sign had to have special permission from the Department for Transport, as it wasn't in their usual guidelines, which further goes to show that it is is too complex to be fully understood."
In an email seen by the Wimbledon Guardian, Paul Atie, senior engineer at Merton Council, said: "The DfT approved the sign in 2008 but added ‘Free parking for permit holders’ so the bottom of the sign reads, Saturday 8.30am - 6.30pm, free parking for permit holders.
"The free parking permit holders, only refers to Saturday and not Monday to Friday. In terms of making this sign clearer, any amendments to existing signs require approval from DfT and DfT is currently not accepting new application."
Councillor Judy Saunders, cabinet member for parking said: “Our permits are allocated to help keep parking in the borough fair and each permit comes with specific guidance to help residents know when and where they can park.
"If a resident believes a sign is misleading we will investigate, but all requests to amend signs must go to the Department for Transport and unfortunately that department are currently not accepting changes.”
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