One-in-seven parking fines are incorrect
AT least one in seven parking tickets is wrongly slapped on vehicles in Carmarthenshire.
Traffic wardens in the county got it wrong more than 1,500 times last year, figures obtained under the Freedom of Information Act have shown.
A motorist buys a ticket at the Island Place car park machine in Llanelli, where prices have risen. PD100107B-01
Out of 10,636 tickets issued by Carmarthenshire Council, 1,597 were successfully challenged by motorists.
Critics have branded the parking situation "ridiculous". But Carmarthenshire Council said it would "make no apology" over the mistakes.
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An authority spokesman said: "The number of successful appeals against parking tickets is quite low for a busy town like Llanelli.
"There is pressure on the authority to keep traffic moving on increasingly congested streets, and a need to rigorously enforce bad parking and parking fee dodgers.
"We get many more complaints from businesses and private residents about badly and illegally parked vehicles than we do appealed bookings."
In Llanelli, wardens got it wrong 536 times.
This means one in eight of the 4,045 tickets handed out to motorists was successfully appealed.
County councillor John Jenkins said a review of town centre parking was urgently needed.
He said: "The street parking situation in Llanelli is confusing to say the least — there are many faded double-yellow lines, for example.
"The council is missing an opportunity to generate income for the town by not providing more accessible street-level parking."
In August, the council denied setting targets for the number of parking tickets issued by wardens — despite giving out a figure which said otherwise.
The authority backtracked on a response to a Freedom of Information request after being named as one of six councils in breach of Department for Transport guidelines.
Ann Williams, aged 26, of Furnace, had a ticket three weeks ago, when she was shopping in Llanelli town centre.
She said: "I think the system with parking tickets is ridiculous.
"Although, I appreciate I parked in the one-hour bay 10 minutes longer than permitted, there was no real problem caused.
"It makes shoppers very anxious trying to rush their shopping to avoid having a costly ticket — it doesn't do anything for the town centre.
"I agree tickets should be issued to people who park obstructively or without due care, but to give a ticket for parking slightly over the time in an allocated bay is wrong.
"If the council want to encourage shoppers to come here, they need to scrap the tickets and put people's mind at ease."
But council traffic management manager John McEvoy said: "If it was not for bad driving and parking practice, and parking fee dodgers, there would be no need for traffic wardens.
"They only exist to keep traffic moving, discourage dangerous parking practices and to ensure orderly parking management on streets and in car parks."