Worshippers fined for parking in off-street area outside Northampton town centre church

Father Oliver Coss

Father Oliver Coss

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Members of the All Saints Church flock have been in dispute with Northamptonshire County Council over Sunday morning parking fines.

People who attend the town centre church service have been ticketed for leaving their cars on the portico area, as there were limited spaces elsewhere.

Father Oliver, who has been serving the church for nearly two weeks, said: “What we found to our horror, several months ago, is that officers were ticketing people 10 minutes after mass started on Sunday mornings.”

The portico area, which is the large open space outside of the church bordered by benches, is used during big functions and funerals, where guests and dignitaries of the church can park cars and hearses.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council said there were ample free parking spaces around the town.

He said: “Following further complaints regarding the illegal parking on the portico area outside All Saints Church, the county council undertook an exercise in June 2016 where warning notices and flyers were placed on any vehicle seen parked in contravention of the no waiting at any time restriction.

“Motorists were advised that Penalty Charge Notices would be issued from July 1, 2016.

“Loading and unloading - providing this is a continuous activity - disabled drivers, clearly displaying a valid blue badge and clock set at the time of arrival and wedding and funeral cars remain exempt from the Traffic Regulation Order covering this area of highway.

“It should be noted that parking is free in Northampton town centre, both on-street and in the car parks every Sunday, Saturdays in the multi-storey car parks and two hours each week day in the same car parks and therefore provides plenty of available parking space to all visitors to the town.”