Welwyn Garden City driver warns of ‘cash cow’ bays

PUBLISHED: 06:44 22 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 23 January 2017

Clare Smith got a parking ticket in Welwyn Garden City

Clare Smith got a parking ticket in Welwyn Garden City

Danny Loo Photography 2017

A Welwyn Garden City woman is warning of the dangers of parking in loading bays after she was stung with a fine for a one-minute breach.

A loading bay in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City.A loading bay in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City.

Clare Smith has spoken out following a story in the Welwyn Hatfield Times highlighting the number of parking charges dished out to people in WGC town centre.

Ever since she received her ticket, she is quick to warn others who may be unaware of the difference between a loading bay for commercial vehicles and bays for any vehicles being loaded or unloaded.

Housewife Miss Smith had parked in a loading bay for commercial vehicles outside Superdrug in Howardsgate while dropping off items to nearby charity shops.

She said no other spaces were available at the time.

A loading bay in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City.A loading bay in Howardsgate, Welwyn Garden City.

The Reddings resident said: “I got a ticket because the parking officer hid round the corner.

“My whole car was full of donations. There’s no other way I could get it to the shops.

“I was running backwards and forwards and he actually said he would make a note that I was unloading.

“I really felt terribly aggrieved.

“They’re using these loading bays as cash cows.

“It’s shocking.”

Last week, the WHT highlighted that nearly £440,000 had been taken in parking fines by Welwyn Hatfield Borough Council.

The council dished out 10,596 charges in 2016, 8,786 in 2015 and 8,725 in 2014.

Miss Smith received her ticked in May 2015 for the breach from 2.39pm to 2.40pm. The original fine was £35, but because she did not pay up straight away it was increased to £70.

She said: “These charity shops won’t survive without a loading bay.

“I’m a bit of a zealot. Whenever I see people park there I say you better hurry up and move on otherwise you will get a ticket, they will have you.”

A council spokesman said: “There are two main types of loading bay in operation.

“Some state ‘Goods vehicles loading only’: these are exclusively for commercial vehicles.

“Others say ‘Loading only’: these are for any vehicles in the process of being loaded or unloaded.”

The spokesman added: “The parking provision along Howardsgate offers a variety of options for visitors to Welwyn Garden City town centre.

“These include specific bays for disabled people, who require close, easy access to shops; and delivery vehicles, which need to unload in the clearly marked loading bays.

“All parking signs and road markings in the borough comply with relevant legislation and are consistent with those throughout the country.

“We want all visitors to the borough to make full use of shops, restaurants and charity shops but we would ask everyone to look for any signage when making a decision on where best to park, as this clearly indicates what the restriction is, and who it applies to.”

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