A ROW has broken out over the legal status of double yellow lines in Alvechurch after an elderly resident was given a parking fine.
Olive Jeavons parked outside Mitchells and Butlers pub on Red Lion Street on Wednesday (May 26) when she was slammed with the fine. However residents have been under the impression the lines were not legally enforced for several years.
Olive said: “Parking here is like gold dust. You have three spots to park on Red Lion Street but we can’t use them. I’ve sat in the car park behind the pub for long periods of time waiting for a space. It seems parking here is simply not for the community.”
She is appealing her fine and is supported by former police officer John Hanson who said the area was deemed ‘private’ by an independent adjudicator in March this year when resident Derek Reading won a tribunal against Worcestershire County Council after being hit with the same fine.
John added “A traffic enforcement officer told me they’d been instructed not to issue fines to drivers parked at this particular spot, however, because a temporary member of staff ,unaware of this instruction, had been on duty in the area, Olive was issued with a fine.”
But the council have argued this has not set a legal precedent.
They added: “We gathered evidence, which wasn’t available at the time, from the legal department and the County Council Highway’s department, which confirmed the land in question is the public highway and subject to a Traffic Regulation Order.
“Parking restrictions do apply there but the customer has the right to appeal.”
However Derek said when he won his appeal both the land registry and the county council sent documents confirming the land belongs to the pub.
John said although most people would not spend the time or money on taking the council to court over a £35 fine, Derek did and proved the lines should not be there because his appeal was allowed on the grounds ‘the alleged contravention did not occur’.
He contacted the county council to explain it was already decided this was private land, but was told Olive must still pay the fine.
He added: “I think this inflexible attitude is ridiculous – it’s off the road, it’s a small secluded section – the same department who acknowledged it to be private is the same department which is now saying pay the fine, but how many people will take it to the adjudicator? There is something inherently wrong about this and there’s a principle in law that you can’t have two bites of the same cherry, can you?”
But the county council said the lines are in the correct location and warned penalty notices are enforceable so anyone wishing to appeal fines should contact Bromsgrove District Council. However when the Standard asked the district council they said only one ticket had been issued this year.
A district council spokesman said: “We have undertaken regular patrols of the area this year and to date only one ticket has been issued at this location, parking restrictions are in place 24 hours a day. Vehicles parked in contravention of the restrictions will be liable for penalty charge notice.”