Traffic wardens in Northampton dish out most tickets on the road outside the town’s accident and emergency department and on a loop around the biggest church in the town centre, figures reveal.
A Freedom of Information request by the Chronicle & Echo has revealed that between August 2015 and August 2016, Cliftonville saw the most tickets for illegally parked vehicles issued in the whole of the borough.
The town centre road, home to Northampton General hospital’s accident and emergency department, is largely covered by double yellow lines, yet cars are parked along them during all times of the day.
Many of those hold a Blue Badge and can do so legally, but a whopping 1,893 tickets were handed out by wardens during that time, beating Abington Street into second place.
Though the town’s main shopping street has only been de-pedestrianised since December 2014 and features a free parking period - 1,498 drivers were fined on the tiny stretch between 2015 and 2016.
Though not technically an individual street - the circular road looping around All Saints Church is undoubtedly the parking fine hotspot of Northampton however.
Mercers Row saw 964 handed out, Woodhill 737, and George Row 608, meaning the short loop saw 2,309 tickets in total.
Taxi driver Malik Ajaz says wardens are right to clamp down on illegal parking in the area as the double yellow-lined area opposite Nando’s is almost always filled with cars.
“During the daytime, buses come round the corner there and they can’t get by because of the way people have parked, it’s choc-a-block," he said.
“It causes no end of traffic jams.”
Fellow Hackney Carriage driver Eddie Corbet, who regularly pitches up on the Mercers Row taxi rank, said drivers are also known to accidentally place their cars within the hatched lines of the taxi rank itself.
“The wardens do a great job around here,” he said.
“We have got to do our job and they help us to do that.”
On the other hand, last week, the rector of All Saints Church, Father Oliver Coss, told the Chron that he felt traffic wardens were being too militant by ticketing congregation members parked on the church portico during mass.
Parking tickets are often seen as the cash cow of any local authority.
In Northamptonshire penalty charges are £70 or £35 if paid within 14 days and £50 or £25 paid within 14 days depending on the parking contravention.
However, the county council claims to have made a loss through its parking enforcement up until the past two financial years.
A spokesman for the council, said: “The areas in question are the most ticketed streets in Northampton and the wider county because these are busy town centre locations. Tickets, or penalty charge notices, are only issued if a vehicle is parked incorrectly.
“Cliftonville has very tight restrictions as it is close to the hospital and incorrect parking can cause problems with access for ambulances and buses.
“Abington Street and Guildhall Road have recently been redesigned and have had new parking restrictions introduced.
“Parking services ran at a loss in Northamptonshire for several years until the past two financial years, when a surplus was made.
“This can be largely attributed to a re-design of the service, including renegotiating a contract with service provider NSL in 2012 as well as the closure of the ‘parking shop’ in the same year.
“Any surplus can be used to pay for deficits in the service over the previous four years or highways projects related to parking services, such as new signage and line markings.”
The top ten streets where parking tickets were issued between August 2015 and August 2016 were:
2)Abington Street, 1,498
3)Guildhall Road, 1,321
4)Wellingborough Road, 1,027
5)Mercers Row, 964
6)St Giles Street, 886
7)Bridge Street, 839
10)George Row, 608
For a fuller list, see here: http://www.northamptonchron.co.uk/news/revealed-is-your-northampton-street-a-parking-ticket-hotspot-1-7612281