Swansea City Council will have to pay back thousands of pounds taken in parking penalties, after one councillor challenged her ticket. She argued that the warning sign to motorists in the area was three inches below the legal height, and when the council realised their error they cancelled her fine, stopped issuing fines for the location, and offered to repay everyone fined for parking there in the past.
Swansea Councillor Sybil Crouch received a fine, after she parked in a new loading bay in Burrows Place. She hadn't seen the sign, so she looked into whether it had been correctly identified as a loading bay. It was then that she realised the signage didn't meet the legal requirement, so the ticket was invalid.
The South Wales Evening Post added that she had also submitted a freedom of information request to discover how many other people had been caught out at this spot - which was when it emerged 320 people had made this mistake in just nine months.
A City Council Spokesman told the Daily Mail: "This was an error and we apologise. All penalty charge notices issued at this location will be cancelled. We'll be writing to motorists to arrange reimbursement, but we'd also ask anyone who has received a penalty charge notice there to get in touch with our parking services team."
Councils and their contractors do occasionally make daft mistakes like this. In 2013 we reported that Sutton Council in South London had admitted it couldn't enforce parking fines, because a council contractor had hung flower baskets obscuring all the signs explaining the parking restrictions in Belmont Village.
And it's not just parking signs where things go awry. In June it emerged that workmen writing warning signs on a road crossing in Gosport had made a potentially disastrous mistake. On one side of the road people were warned to look right, and on the other they were warned to look left. Given that this was a two-way street, it meant those urged to look left would be checking traffic in the wrong direction.
Back in March, Hampshire road signs were in the news again, when signs were erected directing people to Jane Austin's house - instead of Jane Austen's.
But none of these mistakes comes close to the howler in 2008, when Swansea Council sent an email request for someone to translate a sign into Welsh that read: "No entry for heavy goods vehicles. Residential site only". They received a reply almost immediately, and the text in the email was added to the road sign. Unfortunately the text was an automatic email response, meaning "I am not in the office at the moment. Send any work to be translated".
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