North Norfolk District Council defends itself after taking more than £3,600 on “free parking” weekend

A North Norfolk District Council pay-and-display charges board.

A North Norfolk District Council pay-and-display charges board. - Credit: Archant

North Norfolk District Council has defended its publicity attempts after it emerged that it collected more than £3,600 in its pay-and-display machines during a 'free parking' weekend.

The Conservative-run council, which has pledged to donate the sum to local foodbanks, has been criticised by the North Norfolk Labour Party which said motorists had been confused over the Christmas weekend and the sum collected made a mockery of the scheme.

'I thought the point of these days was to bring more trade to our town centres but, in North Walsham, there was plenty of confusion, and we did not reap the full benefits,' said David Spencer, Labour spokesman for North Walsham.

'The district council claims they could not afford to do more to stop visitors paying but I am sure that there would be a number of willing volunteers in each town who could cover up the parking machines for those weekends.'

Labour submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the council and was told that £3,603.20 had been collected over the weekend.

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But a council spokesman said information about the free parking weekend, on December 21 and 22, had been spread as widely as possible.

It had been advertised on the council's website and in the local media from the start of November, A1-sized posters had been placed on ticket machines in all car parks, and bodies including North Walsham Town Council had been informed directly.

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The spokesman added: 'As a result of the successful advertising campaign, only £3,000 was taken over the entire weekend over all the council-operated car parks.'

In addition, one Penalty Charge Notice had been issued, to a vehicle not displaying a blue badge but parked in a disabled bay.

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