Drivers pay penalty after bays 'blunder'
UNSUSPECTING motorists are being fined after mistakenly parking in disused bays.
Visitors to a pay-and-display car park in Biddulph have received the penalty charge after misunderstanding old road markings.
The white lines have been blamed for the problem in Wharf Road car park, close to a construction site.
Fresh white lines were recently painted in a reshuffle of the car park's parking bays as building work continues on a new £10 million health centre.
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And a zebra crossing was installed over the old bays to make for a safer crossing place.
However, the old white lines have reappeared under the crossing and some motorists are now unwittingly leaving their cars in areas which are subject to £60 fines.
Wayne Rogers, from Wains electrical shop in High Street, said: "It is causing chaos in the car park because it is very confusing.
"The previous white lines have not been burnt off properly and people coming into the town are finding themselves landed with quite hefty charges.
"It will affect trade because people will not bother coming to Biddulph if they are getting parking fines."
The car park is providing space for the new health centre in Biddulph.
The development will eventually take up around a third of the Wharf Road car park, leaving the remaining two thirds to continue as a pay-and-display.
Mr Rogers, below, said: "We want the district council to make the bays clearer by removing all the old white lines. The 53-year-old, of Gillow Heath, added: " I have even tried to warn some motorists that I see parking in the wrong place but they don't believe me because they can see the markings of a bay."
The problem was raised at a Biddulph Town Council meeting on Tuesday night, when councillors voted in favour of asking Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, which manages the car park, to make the spaces clearer.
The meeting heard about nine motorists have been hit with fines in recent months.
Town councillor John Redfern said: "It's become easy pickings for traffic wardens to fine people and it's not fair. It appears that this particular spot is being targeted by them. This is really a request for us to write to the district council and get this sorted out."
Terry Gibson, chairman of Biddulph Business Chamber, said: "I've been approached by business people who are not happy. The car park is being taken up by the health centre but the old white lines are still visible. That's what's causing the confusion."
Terry Crawford, Visitors Service Manager from Staffordshire Moorlands District Council said: "We will respond to these comments and if there are any issues concerning us we will rectify the situation."