Driver hits out at 'unfair' fines
MOTORISTS are furious after receiving £50 parking fines for 'unwittingly' leaving their vehicles on a disused car park.
At last five drivers discovered tickets on their windscreens after returning to Castle Street Car Park, off Cannon Street, in Hanley on Sunday.
The site was blocked off in July to make way for the new Central Business District but the fencing had been removed.
Steven Miller had tried to buy a ticket at the pay-and-display machine but after seeing it was out of order he purchased one at the nearby Cannon Street machine.
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He then left a note on his dashboard explaining the steps he had taken.
The call centre operative, of Buxton Avenue, Silverdale, said: "I couldn't believe it when I saw the parking ticket.
"There were about 10 cars on the parked up when I arrived at 8am so I assumed it was open to the public."
He added: "I didn't think anything of it until I came back from the nearby market and saw the parking fine.
"There were at least four other people there whose cars had fines on them.
"The gates should have been locked. I don't know who opened it but you can see why people thought it was open, there's no big sign, just a piece of paper attached to a lamppost."
The parking fine will be reduced to £25 if it is paid within 14 days.
Steven added: "I don't even care about the money, I just think it's the duty of the council to make it clear that the car park is closed. It's very unfair."
Seamus O'Doud, aged 57, who works in the city centre and used to park on Castle Street car park, said: "It's been closed for a while but you see cars on there occasionally.
"I assumed they were workmen but it's easy to mistake them for other members of the public."
Councillor Ruth Rosenau, cabinet member for regeneration, planning and transportation, said any motorists who felt they were unfairly given a ticket can appeal.
She added: "This closure was well publicised on site. Fencing was installed and notices were placed on site.
"We have been made aware the fencing is being moved and vehicles have started to park there and we are taking steps to ensure it remains secure.
"Any vehicle parking on this area may be liable to receive a penalty charge notice.
"However any motorist who receives penalty charge notices for parking in this area is free to appeal in writing to parking services as directed on the rear of the penalty charge notice."