Park­ing blun­der sees church go­ers fined

The Oban Times - - News - LOUISE GLEN lglen@oban­

PARISH­IONERS at St Columba’s Cathe­dral in Oban have been shocked to find car park­ing tick­ets pasted over more than 20 cars while they at­tended mass.

The town’s car park­ing at­ten­dant tar­geted the cars of peo­ple who have been go­ing to mass in the same church and park­ing in the same place for more than 30 years.

Sandy McGre­gor, nephew of one of the oc­to­ge­nar­ian church go­ers, said: ‘ Whilst at­tend­ing St Columba’s Cathe­dral church, as my 79-year- old un­cle does ev­ery Sun­day morn­ing, he re­turned to his car to find out he had a park­ing ticket.

‘He was not the only one. Ev­ery­one who parked on the sin­gle yel­low line across the road from the cathe­dral also got one.

‘Some com­mon sense should ap­ply here.

‘It is truly a sad day when park­ing at­ten­dants are tar­get­ing peo­ple at church on a Sun­day.

‘As far as he was aware the park­ing re­stric­tions on the sin­gle yel­low line only ap­ply Mon­day to Satur­day and in the last 30 years he has been park­ing on the sin­gle yel­low line across from the cathe­dral on a Sun­day and he has never re­ceived a ticket nor has any­one else he knows. He is very up­set over the mat­ter.

‘Are we so badly off for money in Ar­gyll and Bute that an old man can­not go and say prayers on a Sun­day for an hour with­out fear that he will be fined for do­ing so?

‘In pur­suit of at­ten­dants meet­ing tar­gets are we go­ing to be putting off peo­ple from go­ing to wor­ship in their com­mu­nity?

‘I don’t think £70 fines will do much for any­one’s men­tal health never mind the pocket of a pen­sioner.’

Graham Fraser from art shop Alba on Albany Street said: ‘It is high time the coun­cil con­sid­ered the prob­lems that park­ing charges are caus­ing.

‘Ev­i­dence from Wales now shows that by can­celling park­ing charges towns can achieve a 50 per cent rise in busi­ness.’

In re­sponse to the park­ing tick­ets given out near the cathe­dral, coun­cil­lor Elaine Robert­son said: ‘ We will be tak­ing this up and apol­o­gise for the lack of con­sid­er­a­tion and the con­cern this has caused.’

An Ar­gyll and Bute coun­cil spokesman said: ‘There are no tar­gets ei­ther for the num­ber of [ park­ing con­tra­ven­tion no­tices] PCNs a war­den must is­sue or for in­come from de­crim­i­nalised park­ing en­force­ment.

‘The coun­cil took on the re­spon­si­bil­ity for en­forc­ing park­ing reg­u­la­tions through­out the area to en­sure ef­fec­tive traf­fic man­age­ment in our towns.’

The spokesman added: ‘Out­side the cathe­dral on the seaward side of the road there are two sep­a­rate park­ing re­stric­tions.

‘There is a sin­gle yel­low line which in­di­cates that park­ing or wait­ing at that road­side is pro­hib­ited at cer­tain times of day, in this in­stance from Mon­day to Satur­day.

‘There are also sec­tions of dou­ble yel­low lines which mean no wait­ing at any time.

‘If cars are caught park­ing on the dou­ble yel­low lines the is­su­ing of a PCN is le­git­i­mate.

‘If cars were parked on the sin­gle yel­low line on Sun­day and were is­sued with PCNs this was in er­ror and we will, of course, re­scind them and apol­o­gise for any con­fu­sion.

‘We would en­cour­age any­one who was in the area on Sun­day and feels they may have been in­cor­rectly is­sued with a PCN to make con­tact with us (as we do not hold their con­tact de­tails) us­ing the con­tact de­tails on the back of the PCN and we will look into it.’

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