Clearly mindful of the shitstorm that’s ensued from the parking ticket PR disaster of yesterday, Walsall Council have issued a statement apologising here, which I’ll reproduce in full below:
Remembrance Day parking tickets
Date Published : 09 November 2009
Councillor Mike Bird, Walsall Council Leader, said: “I offer my personal apologies to any veterans, servicemen and women and their families who were issued with a parking ticket while attending the Remembrance Day event in Walsall on Sunday, 8 November 2009.
“Walsall Council acknowledges the great sacrifices made by soldiers over the years and the efforts of our armed forces currently involved in conflicts and Sunday’s event was an important opportunity for us all to reflect upon their courage, bravery and dignity.
“Arrangements had been made for veterans to use a designated car park in Walsall free of charge but we now realise that this was not possible due to its use by cadets involved in the event and we apologise for any inconvenience this also caused.
“Sunday parking charges were introduced in September this year and all of our pay and display car parks have signs making this clear. We appreciate, however, that they were not applicable at last year’s event which may have caused people to think they did not apply this time round.
“I can assure anyone who appeals a ticket which was issued during the Remembrance Day event that their case will be treated sympathetically.”
So, before we break out the Champagne and the handlers remuzzle our hapless leader, read this very carefully. These unfortunate people will still have to be dragged through the appeal process with all the attendant cost, hassle and worry, and presumable provide ID to prove that they are in the group carefully ascribed. So no about turn here really, just window dressing over a PR disaster.
I welcome the gesture but I’m afraid we need a bit more clarity. I’ll be watching this one carefully. Perhaps it would be better if they kept Mr. Bird away from the media until the dust settles…
Of course they should provide ID that they were with that particular group – how is the traffic warden supposed to know? For goodness’ sake this whole situation has got well out of hand.
They parked in a car park where they should have paid and displayed, and they didn’t. They got tickets. Regardless of where they were during this time, unless they have an excuse as to why they couldn’t check the board or were in a desperate rush somewhere (wife in labour and needed to get to hospital pronto kind of excuse), I do not consider their argument that they should not pay for parking because it was Remembrance Sunday and they were at a parade. I don’t know where their assumption comes from.
How about the families of soldiers who have died don’t pay for parking on the anniversaries of their deaths? Or on any days when they are holding fundraisers for Help for Heroes? Or on commemorative days such as birthdays of fallen soldiers? Or anyone visiting injured soldiers in hospital? Why stop with soldiers, what about all the other events held in memory of police officers who have died on the beat? There are countless days which could be treated with “compassion” for those involved but it’s a slippery slope.
Remembrance Sunday is a sad day of remembering and learning. How this is associated with parking, I have no idea.
In general principle, I would agree with you. Parking and not taking notice of the regulations, and then getting fined.
Seems reasonable, if a little harsh, plus I take your point about having to draw a line somewhere.
I do however, take exception to the way Walsall MBC dealt with it, and the fact that they don’t want to deal with IMO more serious parking issues, as Bob detailed.
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