LETTER: Stingy tactics are driving me away

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This is a warning to all potential users of Horsham District Council car parks.

After a long week away on business and on passing Horsham from Heathrow, I decided to pop into Horsham town centre to purchase my daughter’s favourite ice cream from Waitrose. I naturally parked in Piries Place car park. I purchased a one hour ticket at 14.59 (for an hour) and was back at the car by 15.15.

To my amazement I had an enforcement notice for £50 because the wheels of my vehicle had encroached into the adjacent bay, according to the parking official who wrote the ticket. This same official, I believe on page 20 of the multi coloured, expensively produced ‘Horsham District News’ they are referred to a CEO, (Civil Enforcement Officer), wrote my Penalty Charge Notice at 15.02, three minutes after I had printed my one hour car parking ticket.

The article on page 20, entitled ‘Want to Know More About Parking’ goes on to say that these CEOs, aside from looking out for poor unsuspecting individuals like me, are ‘Ambassadors for the Area’.

Would you not think this Ambassador of this fair town would have approached me in the 180 seconds from me printing my ticket to him writing his PCN to warn me of the rules of the car park? I was not aware of any such rules, nor have I ever heard of them so I was somewhat surprised to find the ticket.

Furthermore the car park was 25 per cent full. Levels 2-3 were empty. I have been a loyal tax payer, payer of local taxes to HDC for an extremely long time and I would have expected this Ambassador would have had the decency to tell me of my wrong doings before adding to this seemingly important new revenue stream that the council is clearly hell bent on growing.

I wrote to them and of course the reply came back was, after a page and a half of condescending explanations, ‘to pay up’. At the time of writing I am not sure I will.

However, I doubt now that I will come into Horsham that much now and I am quite happy to change my dentist, barber and modes of shopping, not to mention visiting the restaurants.

It’s just not worth the bother any more, which is a shame because I spend a fair amount in Horsham. I will take my business elsewhere and where I don’t have to worry about CEOs, size of parking bays and the like.

So to all of you who are unaware, make sure you park your vehicles within the white lines of the car parking bay or else this stingy, ‘applying below belly tactics’ council will set an Ambassador on you.

A.S. KYNOCH

Cricketers Close, Ashington