Council drops parking fines: accidentally hid signs

Updated: 

hanging basket

Sutton Council in south London has admitted it cannot enforce a huge number of parking fines because another department of the council hung flower baskets over all the parking restriction signs in Belmont village. It said it was an honest mistake, and blamed contractors.

And it is far from the only council to have blundered into this sort of mistake.


It was reported to the Daily Mail by Peter Geringer, a Conservative councillor for the area. He was approached by a local shop owner complaining about a van being parked outside her shop for days without getting a ticket. She rang the council and was informed it couldn't be ticketed because of the baskets.

He told the Sutton Guardian: "How much in fines has been lost on account of this? What a farce, one can hardly believe it."

Councillor Jill Whitehead, chairman of the environment and neighbourhood committee, described the incident as 'an honest mistake' and instructed contractors to remove them. According to The Sun, she said: "The appearance of the borough is one of our proudest assets so it is unfortunate these baskets were positioned where they were. Now they have been moved, parking will be enforced in the area as normal."

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No common sense

And they are hardly the first. Back in May we reported on the road workers who painted the word school, along with yellow zig zags outside Woodfield Primary School in Newton, Chester. They failed to spot the fact that the school has been demolished four years earlier.

In April it was the turn of contractors in Swindon, who were told to paint double yellow lines down the alleys that people had been illegally parking in. They decided to paint them in an alley so narrow there were only 13 inches between the lines.

In April 2007, one council in north London took a similar approach with a stretch of cycle-path that was only just wide enough to squeeze a bike down.

Then there was the time in March 2007 when contractors in Bewsdley, Worcester, lifted up a car, painted double yellow lines underneath, and then put the car back. The owner narrowly missed getting a ticket.

Contractors in Leeds in October 2003 got around the problem by simply painting around a parked car on Hyde Terrace. A council spokesperson said at the time: "We will speak to the contractors to remind them to use common sense when painting temporary road markings in the future."

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