PARKING bosses have been forced to issue an apology after an embarrassing error led to fines being handed out to undeserving motorists in Kirkby.
Nottinghamshire County Council admitted a sign erected at a bay outside Bairstow Eves estate agents in Station Street incorrectly stated motorists were allowed 30 minutes’ parking, when they were actually allowed an hour.
It led to officers from parking enforcement firm NSL wrongly issuing the fines, which must now be refunded.
Zoe Thompson, who runs Floral Expressions on Station Street, said she had been hit with three separate fines totalling £75 after parking in the bay.
“We had complained about the sign because the 30 minute limit seemed to have come from nowhere - all the other bays are an hour limit.
“It was a ridiculous situation - what can you get done on a high street in just 30 minutes”
Ms Thompson said she had put a complaint into Ashfield District Council, which contracts NSL, because over-zealous traffic wardens were driving trade out of Kirkby.
“It has got to the point where people are saying they won’t bother coming. People come into town for half and hour and end up having to shell out £25 - no wonder they say they won’t be back again.
“You should be able to relax in your place of business - not be constantly worried about fines.
“(The parking enforcement officers) should be trying to help the shopkeepers - things are difficult enough as it is.”
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero discovered the sign error after Ms Thompson complained to her about parking fine issues.
Ms De Piero said she had written to Nottinghamshire County Council chief exec Mick Burrows about the issue.
“I have asked Nottinghamshire County Council what they are doing to do about this and what the process is for claiming any money back,” she said.
Gareth Johnson, Central Processing Unit and Enforcement Manager at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “All the parking bays on Station Street, Kirkbyare designated for a maximum one hour stay in the traffic regulation order covering the road.
“However it appears that a 30 minute sign had been mistakenly installed at one bay by highways engineers working for either Nottinghamshire County Council or Ashfield District Council. The error was pointed out to us on 12th July and the sign has now been replaced.
“According to our records, since the Nottinghamshire Parking Partnership assumed responsibility for civil parking enforcement in 2008, three different motorists have been issued with penalty charge notices for parking for between 30mins and 1 hour in the incorrectly signed bay. None of the motorists concerned appealed against the notices and paid the £25 fines. We apologise for this mistake and will examine if it is possible to contact the motorists affected and reimburse them.”