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Anger over parking fines after film crew takes over Stratford spaces

STRATFORD author Helen Bland was slapped with parking fines when it was decided to hand over on-street parking spaces to a BBC film crew.

The Beeb were filming in Old Town, close to the Garden of Remembrance, where Helen has a £25 permit to park her car.

Helen Bland alongside the Old Town parking space where she received the two tickets. Photo: Mark Williamson 01/1/21/0303. (54083056)
Helen Bland alongside the Old Town parking space where she received the two tickets. Photo: Mark Williamson 01/1/21/0303. (54083056)

As she lives in Church Street and shops in Stratford, Helen doesn’t use her car every day. It was therefore a bit of surprise when she returned to her vehicle three days after she’d parked it to find two parking tickets and a £140 fine to pay.

“I parked on a Saturday in one of my usual spots in Old Town and left the vehicle there for three days,” Helen told the Herald. “A parking suspension notice had been erected in my absence, enabling the BBC free access to resident parking – obviously they are considered more important than law-abiding Stratford town residents.

“Imagine my horror when three days later I returned to find two parking tickets on my car and some vehicles had three.

“I really don’t want to be charged for parking legally so I quickly wrote to Warwickshire County Council and they halved the fine to £70, but I can ill afford £70 and for some people it could be the difference between eating and paying a fine.”

Helen described the decision by the county council to hand over residents’ parking spaces to a film crew as “unjust”.

She added that the county council had not been sympathetic to her circumstances and came across as “accusatory” in its correspondence with her.

“I’ve lived in Stratford for seven years and it’s famous all over the world – it’s a beautiful place. Filming is happening all the time with the BBC and there’s no apologies. The parking fine is just heartless money grabbing,” said Helen.

A Warwickshire County Council spokesperson said: “We are unable to comment on individual penalty charge notices due to data protection but where parking bays are suspended, the signs are put in place at least three days prior to the suspension taking effect, sometimes longer. If a person challenges the issuing of a penalty charge notice then it will be considered on its individual merits, depending on what mitigation is offered. If necessary, we may respond asking for evidence to support any claims made in a challenge before a decision is made.

“If a challenge is rejected, there is further opportunity to appeal, and this will be explained in the letter advising of the decision. More information about the appeals process is available at www.patrol-uk.info and www.knowyourparkingrights.org.”

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