Parking dispute won but love destroyed

HOR 251111 Parking sign in River Mead, Horsham. photo by derek martin
HOR 251111 Parking sign in River Mead, Horsham. photo by derek martin

PARKING signs in Horsham have been ruled ambiguous, after a dispute erupted between a visitor and the district council.

Richard South, 66 of Worthing has said he will ‘never visit Horsham again’ after receiving a parking ticket on November 14.

Mr South and his wife were visiting Horsham for a ‘nice day out, visiting friends and the church’, when he unknowingly parked in a permit only zone in River Mead.

He believed the signs (pictured) meant they could park there between the hours of two and four in the afternoon, when in fact they are supposed to indicate only permit holders can.

When he saw he had received a parking ticket he said he felt ‘dismayed, angry and cheated’.

He disputed the ticket with Horsham District Council (HDC), which said that he would have to pay.

Mr South took the appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, based in Manchester, which made the appeal on his behalf.

It found in favour of Mr South, and in a letter it was agreed ‘the sign should state ‘permit holders from 2 – 4pm’ in order for its meaning to be clear’.

The tribunal’s findings have been sent to HDC along with recommendations.

A spokesperson from West Sussex County Council, which sets policy on these matters, said: “The district council has advised us of an adjudication decision relating to River Mead in Horsham.

“Although each appeal against a parking ticket is considered on its own merits, enforcement of the restriction in River Mead is currently under review, in the light of the adjudicator’s comments.”

On winning his appeal Mr South said: “Clearly I am very pleased as you would expect but I hope the council learn from their mistakes and listen to the tribunal and take the advice on board.”

Mr South added that he was worried that others may have received tickets for unknowingly parking in these spaces.

He said: “I think the council owe an apology to all those people who also got tickets in River Mead and to me for giving me such grief over this and destroying our love of Horsham.”

In response to Mr South’s concerns in relation to the way he was treated a spokesperson from HDC said: “We take customer care very seriously and will always investigate such an allegation where a resident or visitor says that they are not happy with the way they have been treated.

“The council has a formal complaints system which is there for anyone who feels they have not been treated in the way they would expect.

“We are keen to speak with the complainant so we can look into what he says further.”