Worst roads for parking tickets in Welwyn Hatfield revealed

PUBLISHED: 10:10 19 January 2017 | UPDATED: 09:41 23 January 2017

Welwyn Garden City's Howardsgate was the worst road for parking tickets in 2016.

Welwyn Garden City's Howardsgate was the worst road for parking tickets in 2016.

Archant

Welwyn Hatfield Council pocketed nearly £440k last year through parking fines issued in the borough.

Ticket officers shelled out 10,596 charges in 2016, compared to 8,786 and 8,725 in the previous two years respectively, a Freedom of Information request has revealed.

It also emerged that four of the top five roads for fines were in Welwyn Garden City town centre.

Gemma Hickling, deputy manager at Simmons in Howardsgate, told the WHT: “I don’t think people realise they can only park on the street for an hour, and there is always someone [a ticket officer] walking around.

“There are a lot of car parks but people don’t want to pay that much money and then they take the risk.”

The worst road was Howardsgate with 944, costing a total of £16,488, followed by Parkway with 832 (£38,614), and Hatfield’s Comet Road with 361 (£29,239).

Wigmores North and Stonehills had 319 and 249 tickets, with total fines of £9,626 and £12,799 respectively.

A council spokeswoman explained the amount charged varied on the stage of payment and breach type, for example overstaying (£50) or parking in a loading pay (£70).

It follows research by the Welwyn Garden City Business Improvement District (BID) that highlighted parking as the biggest problem for WGC traders and customers.

Prezzo’s assistant manager, Dorothy Ipacs, said the parking restrictions in the town centre damage business, possibly pushing shoppers to Hatfield or Stevenage.

“A lot of customers ask us about the parking outside, and obviously they have to get up and move the car after an hour,” she added.

Katinka Hajdu, Caffè Nero’s manager, said she felt the short free period was a reason for the fines, while Welwyn Garden City shopper Lesley Hadleigh said it was often not long enough to complete her tasks.

She added: “I do not think people would mind paying for parking if it was taken off what they buy.”

A council spokeswoman said reducing illegal parking is a priority, particularly after increasing concerns raised by residents.

“We have responded to this by putting more restrictions in place and increasing on-street enforcement,” she added.

“All money raised from on-street parking charges is reinvested into running the parking services department, including staff costs, on-street parking enforcement and processing penalty charge notices.”

Paul Haynes, interim WGC BID chairman, said: “On the face of the figures it looks like parking notices are increasing year-on-year in Welwyn Garden City and this could be a symptom of wider issues.”

He also praised the borough council for its current parking consultation project.

What are your thoughts? Do you think more needs to be done? Email letters@whtimes.co.uk or call 01707 375 676.


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