‘Confusing’ road signs in one Northampton street leave 523 people ticketed in five months resulting in £18k fines

Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165527009
Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165527009

A councillor has called for an amnesty on parking charges issued in a “confusing” Northampton road after 523 people were ticketed in just five months.

Guildhall Road was dug up last year and new pavement and kerb-less road surface laid down in an effort to make the road more attractive.

Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165442009

Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165442009

But a Freedom of Information request by UKIP uncovered the fact that at least £18,000 worth of fines have been demanded from tickets issued between the works finishing in December 2014 and May 8, 2015. If none were paid within 14 days, the total would rise to £37,300

County Councillor Michael Brown (UKIP, Kingsthorpe North), said the many different signs giving information about loading bays, disabled spaces and pay and display are potentially confusing.

Also, he said, the crazy paving bays are not easily distinguishable from the pavement, where he believes many unwary victims of fines were parked.

He said: “It all looks very nice, but the signs conflict with one another within a few yards and the bays have no white lines, just a subtle change in surface material.

Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165422009

Guildhall Rd parking NNL-150617-165422009

“At night I’d challenge 
anyone to confidently say where you can and cannot park.

“Making it visually appealing is one thing, but how about a system that actually works?”

The new restrictions end at the junction with Angel Street, where double yellow lines and traditional parking bays continue to the bottom of the hill.

Drivers wanting to park in the top portion of Guildhall Road are faced with 11 parking signs in less than 100 metres.

A particularly confusing stretch in the new upper section, near Outcast hair salon, tells motorists the bays are pay and display until 6pm, but a smaller sign underneath says ‘loading only’.

Yards further along, a third sign then says ‘no loading at any time.” There are no painted lines showing where any of the zones begin and end.

One driver, who found she had been was ticketed after a family meal, told the Chronicle & Echo: “The signage should not be there to catch people out.”


Highways bosses agree to review new car parking restrictions

THE parking information in upper Guildhall Road is driven by national restrictions on what types of signs may be used, and the fact it is not only used by visitors, but also residents and businesses.

A spokesman for Northamptonshire County Council, which was a partner in the scheme along with Northampton borough Council, said: “The design brief was to enhance the appearance of the street with parking bays demarcated by stone block-work, as opposed to more conventional white lines.

“The Department for Transport guidelines are very strict about the type of signage that can be used and wording has to be very specific, leaving little flexibility to change signs.

“However as the highways authority we need to make sure people are fully informed of the restrictions and are willing to assess the location to see if anything more can be done.”