Leigh Park driver wins battle against council over ‘confusing’ parking bays

VICTORY Jim Graham pictured with his letter to say his fine was overturned, next to the bay.  Picture: Paul Jacobs (120993-1)
VICTORY Jim Graham pictured with his letter to say his fine was overturned, next to the bay. Picture: Paul Jacobs (120993-1)

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MOTORIST Jim Graham has won his battle to get a controversial parking fine overturned.

The 65-year-old now believes his case could set a precedent for other people who get fined in Somborne Drive, Leigh Park.

Like scores of others, Mr Graham failed to spot the parking bay was solely for use by disabled drivers during weekdays – despite there being no road markings informing people i is a disabled space.

The only indication is a small sign at the top of a pole on the pavement.

Mr Graham, of Brooklands Road, Bedhampton, was given a £35 fine as he parked in the bay without a designated blue badge.

He paid the fine, but decided to appeal against the ticket – issued by Havant Borough Council – to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal.

Adjudicator John Parker has now instructed the council to refund Mr Graham.

He said Mr Graham’s case was supported by an article in The News which highlighted the confusion the bays could cause.

Mr Parker said: ‘I find that he has provided a credible and consistent account and I accept that he did not consciously park in a disabled bay.

‘The different restrictions in force in the bays is only apparent from the plates as, unusually, the disabled bays are not marked “Disabled” on the carriageway.

‘In view of the genuine confusion in the mind of not only Mr Graham but seemingly others, the council may wish to review the situation on Somborne Drive.’

The adjudicator said he felt the road markings were not compliant with The Traffic Signs Regulations.

But he said the signage was adequate.

Mr Graham, a retired design engineer, said: ‘I hope the adjudicator’s decision will bring about a change in the timings of the disabled parking bays so that the road surface can be legally marked with the word “disabled” which would end the confusion that currently exists.’

The rules state the bays, which were installed last year, are for disabled motorists between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday, and for general use at other times.

There are six spaces solely for the disabled during weekdays and a further seven where blue badge holders get one hour parking and other motorists get 30 minutes

Officials at Havant Borough Council, which enforces the parking regulations, said they cannot paint the word disabled on the road as the spaces are available for general use as well.

Jackie Batchelor, executive head of environment and neighbourhood quality, said the council was considering painting more lines on the road to highlight the fact it is a designated parking bay and hopefully draw attention to the signposts.

She added: ‘Council officers are reviewing the parking provision in Somborne Drive and the outcome of this particular case will be considered as part of the review.’

She said a similar case, heard by different adjudicator, had found in favour of the council.