More than 700 drivers handed parking fines in Dunmow

Drivers in Dunmow are being fined.

Drivers in Dunmow are being fined. - Credit: Archant

The “Draconian” behaviour of parking attendants in Great Dunmow has been taken up by Sir Alan Haselhurst the MP for Saffron Walden.

After a shop owner complained about a parking fine on a Sunday while loading goods, Sir Alan wrote to Dunmow Town Council to get its view.

He told the Broadcast: “I can’t believe that the North Essex Parking Partnership is recommending such Draconian steps.”

Now, Dunmow town councillor Alex Armstrong has begun a survey of parking experiences in the town.

The partnership has said 672 fines were issued in Great Dunmow in the past five months, between August last year and the end of January this year, so about four a day.

Anup Morzaria, a pharmacist working on Christmas bank holiday Monday, was fined for parking on a single yellow line outside his chemist shop.

He said: “We were open for an hour. I said this is a bank holiday, I appealed but I still had to pay. I have received three parking tickets in the past two months. Once, I was loading up but I was told it was only paper so it didn’t count.”

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Cllr Armstrong, who also chairs the Dunmow Town Team, said several businesses had been penalised for exercising their lawful right to load and unload near their shops.

He said the general understanding was that shops are allowed 10 minutes to load and unload but if they went into the 11th minute they were fined.

Photographer David Perry, of Lipson Photography whose studio overlooks a car park said: “I see traffic wardens waiting for up to 15 minutes for someone’s parking ticket to run out – even if expires five minutes before parking becomes free at 5pm.

He said: “I see them skulking around. You will go away and do something and when you come back, there are still there, waiting. The irony is that they park their vans where you need a permit and they don’t have one. We did think of clamping them.”

A spokesman for North Essex Parking Partnership said: “Officers are instructed to observe a goods vehicle for 10 minutes and a private vehicle for five minutes to see if there are signs of active loading and unloading.

“We have no evidence that, officers are waiting in car parks to catch motorists.

“They are instructed to allow a five-minute grace period, in the event that a driver returns late to their vehicle or needs to find change.” They also allow a 10-minute grace period after the expiry of a Pay and Display ticket, as this is stipulated in law.