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Row over whether town road is really a car park

By Leek Post and Times  |  Posted: January 09, 2014

By Leslie Jackson

Silk Street, Leek.

Silk Street, Leek.

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CONFUSION and controversy has arisen on whether a road which leads to the rear of a market building, private businesses and toilets is a car park or highway.

The question has arisen after retired architect Tony Busfield, aged 76, of Longsdon, was issued with a penalty notice for parking his car opposite the Silk Street toilet, on December 18.

Mr Busfield, who had his Blue Badge on show, challenged the decision as badge holders can park on yellow lines.

In his appeal letter to Staffordshire Moorlands District Council, Mr Busfield, who represents the Georgian Society on Leek Conservation Panel, said: "I have discussed the matter with your senior staff who informed me that the issuing of the 'ticket' is incorrect.

"I have also discussed the matter with a retired senior police officer who said that since this is a public highway, and I was displaying my badge pass correctly, your warden was acting outside his remit, and in spite of my advice to him previously and agreement with his superiors he is acting illegally and alienating visitors by his actions."

However, a reply from the council's parking officer stated that, after looking into the penalty charge, it was issued correctly and rejected Mr Busfield's appeal.

The letter said: "While the civil enforcement officer has noted that a Blue Badge was on display in the vehicle, the badge cannot be used to park on double yellow lines situated in car parks.

"The regulations of all off-street car parks state that all vehicles should be parked within a marked bay.

"The exemption for disabled drivers to park on yellow lines only refers to those located in on street locations. As such the penalty has been issued correctly on this occasion.

"The council will accept the discounted payment of £35 if the sum is received within 14 days. If it is not paid within this time then the full amount of £70 will be required."

However UK Road Maps, Olde Maps, Google Maps and Street Map on the internet all refer to the entrance from Market Street to the entrance of the trestle market as Silk Street, which gives all drivers the indication that the road is a highway.

In a statement to the Post & Times a spokesman for Staffordshire Moorlands District Council said: "We can confirm that the space where Mr Busfield parked is in the car park on Silk Street.

"The double yellow lines indicate the start of the car park and signs also welcome drivers to this car park.

"Further signs are posted on the side of the toilets to inform drivers that they are in a car park. The Blue Badge Scheme booklet clearly states that holders are not entitled to park on yellow lines in off-street car parks."

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