Parking fine? You might find a ‘sympathetic’ ear...

High Down Junior School, Portishead police educational parking patrol.

High Down Junior School, Portishead police educational parking patrol. - Credit: Archant

District bosses have said they would treat visitors to Exmouth ‘sympathetically’ if fined for parking in one of its car parks after buying a ticket for a nearby county council bay.

Last week, the Journal reported that pensioner James Landells, of Berwick, had bought a three-day parking pass on the advice of a traffic warden in an East Devon District Council (EDDC) car park.

He says he was advised the parking pass would entitle him to park ‘anywhere’ in East Devon.

Mr Landells, who was visiting Exmouth to meet former Royal Marine comrades for their 49th annual reunion, said he parked in a roadside bay on Queens Drive.

He was fined, despite displaying what he thought was a valid EDDC ticket.

But parking on Queens Drive, like parking tariffs on all roads in Devon, is administered by Devon County Council.

Mr Landells, who comes from an area with a single unitary council which deals withg all parking in the county, says he was not aware of Devon’s political structure, and, therefore, which council was in charge of parking and where.

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An EDDC spokesman said if the roles were reversed and visitors new to the area who had purchased a county council ticket then parked in an EDDC car park and were fined, they would treat any subsequent appeal ‘sympathetically’.

And, in some cases, they would not be fined in the first place.

She said: “We acknowledge that confusion does occur from time to time. In the past, when that has happened, both authorities have, in our experience, had a sensible policy of resolving the issue amicably.

“In cases where a customer has purchased a parking session for a parking bay on the highway, but has left their vehicle in one of our off-street car parking bays across the road, they are unlikely to have received a penalty charge notice in the first place.

“However, it would technically have been correct to serve the penalty but, on appeal, each case is considered on its own merits and an appeal in these circumstances would certainly have been considered sympathetically by East Devon District Council.

“We understand that this is also the case for the enforcement team at Devon County Council, where similar arrangements have been in place for some years now.

“We have discussed this case with them and, because the charge has now been paid, the case has already been closed.

“They would advise the customer to make contact with their customer relations team directly.”