I decided to have a day out in Morpeth on February 22.
As I entered the car park at The Terrace I glanced at the sign, which said: All-day car park.
After parking my car, I made sure I was within the lines of the bay and put my parking disc on the dashboard.
I had already paid £1 for the disc, which gives free parking, so I didn’t need to look for a payment machine.
When I returned to my car, I was shocked to find I had a fixed-penalty notice due to the fact I had gone over the three-hour limit.
The question I needed to know from Northumberland County Council was when is an all-day car park not an all-day car park?
The answer, of course, is when it’s a three-hour car park within an all-day car park.
It was my own fault for not reading the sign fully. I assumed, wrongly, that an all-day car park meant exactly that, but this does not apply in this car park. There are two sets of rules, so beware.
If you park between the white lines, this entitles you to all-day parking and no disc needs to be displayed. If you park between the red lines, this entitles you to only three hours and you need to display a disc.
I queried this and was told that notice of parking changes for this car park had been announced in the Morpeth Herald in November 2016, along with notices in the car park itself.
That’s all well and good if you live in Morpeth, but what about if you live out of the area? How are you to know about the pending changes?
I believe the traders of Morpeth aren’t happy about the out-of-town shopping which is going ahead. I, for one, will never shop in Morpeth town centre again and Northumberland County Council is doing its best to discourage this by issuing fixed penalty notices to visitors to the town.
If you don’t have to pay to park in the first instance, what’s the problem? It seems like another money-making scheme for the council.
This was a genuine mistake by assuming I was in an all-day car park. We all know what assume does, don’t we? It makes an ass out of you and me. Another lesson learned.