Warning to motorists: ‘Car park is set up to trap you’

People parking in Aire Street car park have been fined  for buying a ticket from the wrong machine in the adjoining Carlton Lanes car park.
People parking in Aire Street car park have been fined for buying a ticket from the wrong machine in the adjoining Carlton Lanes car park.

Motorists fined because of confusing car parks in Castleford are being urged to fight back after one took his case to a tribunal and won.

Dozens of drivers have been issued with penalty notices while staying in Aire Street car park.

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It is run by Wakefield Council, but an adjoining Carlton Lanes car park is operated by Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre.

Users have complained that signage and barriers between the two car parks is inadequate and if a ticket was bought from the wrong machine, drivers would often return to find the notice on their windshield.

But Simon Osbourn from Pontefract refused to pay his £25 fine, which then doubled to £50 because he did not pay in the allotted time.

After Wakefield Council twice rejected his appeal, a tribunal then found in his favour. The 54-year-old said: “It’s so easy just to pay the fine, it’s less hassle, but it just seems that it’s set up to trap you. I got my ticket and thought everything was above board. The signs are not adequate and not clear.”

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The Traffic Penalty Tribunal of England and Wales conducted their investigation and found that the council “had not gone far enough” in terms of signs.

It stated: “There is no clear signage to notify motorists that there are two separate car parks managed by two separate organisations.”

Mr Osbourn found from a freedom of information request that more than 150 people have been fined at the car park during the past two years, but only 24 apply to drivers being fined while parked in the council’s Aire Street car park.

Following the adjudicator’s decision, the council have now agreed to review the cases.

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Neil Rodgers, service director for transportation at Wakefield Council, said: “We accept the adjudicator’s decision and are committed to continuing our review of signage and will be installing a new fence to better define the boundary between the two car parks.”

Meanwhile, Carlton Lanes Shopping Centre says its signs have been deemed adequate, so vehicles parked in its car park with a ticket from the Wakefield Council machine are unlikely to be appealed successfully.