Norwich City Council traffic warden tickets cars in charity car park

Lions Club members Jill Diggle and Colin May, right, with James Fox, centre left, and David Hutchins

Lions Club members Jill Diggle and Colin May, right, with James Fox, centre left, and David Hutchins from BD&H Printers.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

A row has broken out after traffic wardens ticketed half a dozen cars parked in a charity car park on a Norwich City match day.

Lions Club parking ticket.Picture: ANTONY KELLY

Lions Club parking ticket.Picture: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

While officers at Norwich City Council claim the front wheels of the vehicles were obstructing a pavement, charity bosses claim the land is private and that they have used it for a decade with no problems.

One appeal has already been rejected, noting that the car was parked in a private business entrance with permission, but may have meant people on the pavement had to step into the road to get around the vehicle.

Volunteers for Norwich North Alpha Lions Club operate 80 charity parking spaces around the Europa Way Business Park, near County Hall, when the Canaries are playing at home.

Business leaders grant the charity permission to use their private land, and volunteers with charity buckets take a £4 donation per vehicle from people going to watch the match.

Money raised goes to local causes including first responders, Hellesdon and Old Catton Scouts, and helping children with special educational needs.

But a row has broken out over the use of half a dozen spaces outside the BD&H printing company, which is one of several companies that work with the charity.

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After the Canaries' 2-0 victory over Aston Villa, six drivers returned to find penalty charge notices stuck to their windscreens.

Each one demanded a payment of £35, rising to £70 if not paid within 14 days.

Jill Diggle, president of the Lions club, said the first she knew of the problem was when drivers started to get in touch, asking why they had been ticketed.

'They all rang up and said 'we've got tickets - you told us we could park here',' she said. 'We would never have parked like that had we been told we couldn't.

'We've parked like that since March 2005. It seems a bit odd that they're now saying we can't do it.

'They've been really good to us before.

'I think it was a car parking warden who was overly enthusiastic.'

She said that the charity had urged people to appeal the tickets, had lodged a block appeal itself and had stopped using the six spaces in dispute until they had clarity from the city council over where they could and could not park.

The charity has volunteered to cover the cost of the six motorists' tickets - which is £210 at the lower value.

One of the appeals has already been rejected, stating: 'As the front of the vehicle was in line with the pavement, it would have meant that any pedestrians using the pavement and crossing the premises entrance would have to walk on the road, which may compromise their safety especially if they have a pushchair or wheelchair.'

A spokesman for Norwich City Council said: 'We have a duty to protect people's safety so will issue notices where parked vehicles are found obstructing a public footway.

'We are very happy to meet the charity to clarify any queries around boundaries in the area and where private property meets the highway.

'Any challenges received are looked at independently through our appeals process.'

Do you have a Norwich story? Email samuel.russell@archant.co.uk