A successful appeal challenging a parking ticket given at Northampton’s Grosvenor Centre could put a stop to penalties for overstaying in a set of “drop off bays”.
Maria Walpole was issued the £50 ticket on November 14 last year after parking in one of the bays marked “park and pay – 10 minutes max”.
The six spaces are intended to allow drivers to pick up and drop off passengers at the borough council-owned multi-storey.
However, as Mrs Walpole was parked there on a Saturday, when parking at the Grosvenor Centre is free, her appeal has been successful.
A regulatory tribunal found that Northamptonshire County Council, which hands out tickets and fines, did not have any legal right to issue the penalty.
Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) covering that car park does not state that there is a specific penalty for anyone overstaying the ten minutes - when a longer free period is already in force. Even on weekdays the car park offers the first two hours of parking free.
The tribunal also found the car park does not make it clear the 10-minute bays are not covered as part of the free weekend parking.
Adjudicator EB Solomans, said: “I would not have considered the signage adequate to inform car park users at the weekend that the bays were not available.
“A bay that is marked “park and pay” does not obviously have a restriction allowing only loading, boarding or alighting on days when payment is not required.”
Maria Walpole’s husband Chris said the couple were pleased to win their appeal.
He said: “We never had a doubt that we weren’t going to be successful.
“They haven’t even clarified the 10 minute regulation.
“I want people to know they can appeal this and get their money back.”
A Northampton Borough Council spokeswoman said enforcement of the bays on weekends will stop with immediate effect.
She said: “We advised Northamptonshire County Council that the borough council offers free parking in the multi-storey car parks on Saturdays and Sundays, so the need to park up and pay is not required on those days.
“The signage in the car park does clearly state that the bays are 10 minute bays only, and so the county council’s enforcement officer issued the penalty as the bays did not differentiate between chargeable and free days.
“Northampton Borough Council will be reviewing signage throughout all car parks this year and will include the signage on these bays to clarify the position and Northamptonshire County Council have agreed to cease any enforcement on free parking days with immediate effect.”
Northamptonshire County Council was approached for comment yesterday.