Parking fines threat to North Walsham meals-on-wheels service

Mark and Claire Rushen, owners of The Cockerel Resturant. 
PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY Mark and Claire Rushen, owners of The Cockerel Resturant. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY

Thursday, May 8, 2014
10:06 AM

Traffic wardens who have been slapping tickets on cars outside a north Norfolk restaurant are jeopardising a vital meal service to the elderly, it has been claimed.

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The owners of The Cockerel Restaurant, in North Walsham, fear their desperately-needed meals on wheels volunteers will drop out if they are at risk of a £60 fine every time they pull up outside to load and off-load.

In recent weeks traffic wardens – now called civil parking enforcement officers – have booked two vehicles delivering food for the scheme after they stopped on double-yellow lines outside the North Street restaurant.

Cockerel owners Mark and Claire Rushen say they have been completely frustrated in their bid to find out who is issuing the tickets so that they can plead their case.

But now North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) has offered to help protect a valuable community service.

The Rushens stepped in after Norfolk County Council stopped running meals on wheels.

Since December 2012 The Cockerel has been delivering hot food to as many as 45 people in North Walsham from Monday to Friday, plus chilled meals to cover the weekend. “We haven’t got enough volunteers as it is and a lot of the ones we have are retired. They are the sort of people who don’t like being in trouble over parking or getting a ticket and may drop out if this isn’t sorted out,” said Mrs Rushen.

“We can’t afford to lose any of them.”

The Rushens said they had spent a frustrating time trying to track down who was issuing the tickets.

But phone calls to Norfolk County Council, North Norfolk District Council, and the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk – which operates the service on behalf of the Norfolk Parking Partnership – had only led to unreturned calls or unhelpful referrals from one authority to another.

The partnership comprises the county council and the city, district and borough councils in Norfolk.

“No-one is accepting responsibility,” said Mr Rushen. He understood that the county was not obliged to provide meals on wheels and had lacked funding to continue the service, but: “If you are asking other people to take over, surely you shouldn’t be punishing them for doing so?”

Mr Rushen said The Cockerel did not make any money out of meals on wheels and he and his wife continued it as a service to vulnerable people in their community, some of whom did not speak to anyone else.

Loading and unloading could take 15-20 minutes because information often had to be passed on about customers from concerned relatives.

An NNDC spokesman said it was not responsible for issuing the tickets but recognised the importance of The Cockerel’s service and hoped it would be able to offer the Rushens a special short-stay permit, for about £20pa, which all the volunteers could use in NNDC’s nearby Vicarage Street Car Park.

■ To volunteer, ring 01692 403743.

10 comments

  • To IAMW? Spot on! you definitely can't criticise the wardens for lack of enthusiasm-I got back to my car in the nick of time last week, matey was hovering around like a buzzard! His face was a picture when i turned up, I thought he was going to be sick!

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    backwoodsman

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • looking at the picture surely there is enough room for them to reverse into the front drive so they are not on the road. and before they say it takes up space for their customers there is plenty of space without affecting the seating area. another point is have they looked in the car park for the culprit as they will be there looking on with a sick smile on their faces. in cromer they park in mount street then walk into the various car parks and side streets to catch people.

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    i am mostly wrong??

    Friday, May 9, 2014

  • Keith S., people with blue badges can park absolutely anywhere, whether dangerous or not. Perhaps the MOW service should be issued with them.

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    backwoodsman

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Actually I hope the enforcers do end up really lonely old people who can't cook for themselves . Karma is a b***h

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    Reader

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Let's hope the enforcers issuing tickets end up really lonely old people who can't cook for themselves.

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    Skoalbandit

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Short-stop permits; problem solved. Then the maggot-brained morons issuing the tickets can move on to following ambulances and paramedics, ready to pounce when they park to help us. Name and shame!!!

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    Dictate

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • There's no reason why a MoW car bearing an official permit shouldn't be allowed sufficient time to load and unload, say 10 minutes. Police cars park on double yellows all the time, Keith. The lines are there to channel people into the revenue-raising car parks.

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    Father Brian

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • ".....but recognised the importance of The Cockerel’s service and hoped it would be able to offer the Rushens a special short-stay permit, for about £20pa". Typical Council. Lets squeeze yet more money out of the motorist. Lets have the name of this money grabbing so called "spokesman" EDP.

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    "V"

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • The yellow lines are there because its dangerous to park there. Why not park on the car park opposite and walk the extra 3 yards! Meals on wheels is without doubt a great service, but it doesn't make it exempt from rules and common sense.

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    KeithS

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

  • Why can't they issue a FREE short stay permit for this excellent service. I do hope the people responsible never have to rely on MOW ,

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    Reader

    Thursday, May 8, 2014

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