Parking in Keswick
Keswick's poorly signed Disc Zone scheme has put off many potential visitors to
My recent experience with Keswick's poorly signed Disc Zone scheme is a warning to potential
visitors to Keswick.
In doing so, it's been suggested that I've
detracted from the otherwise positive aspects of this site and may, in some
people's eyes, lessen my credibility, also displaying signs of becoming a bit of
a 'grumpy old man'; If that be the case, then I sincerely apologise but do we sit back and
accept indiscriminate parking
fines or speak out - I choose the latter.
I know of 3 other instances
where parking fines have been unjustly imposed:
1. When parking in a near deserted car park, a motorist's
wheel was slightly over the white line used to define individual parking
bays; he was parked on the end of a deserted line of parking spaces BUT
received a parking fine nevertheless.
2. In a full car park, a visitor parked on a grass
section having bought and paid for his ticket; there was nothing to suggest
that parking on the grass was prohibited; he also received a parking fine.
3. And, like myself, a resident of Keswick parked in a
previously 1 hour parking bay without realising that it had been changed to
Disk Parking - he also received a parking fine.
I therefore felt it appropriate to feature this as a
warning to potential visitors to Keswick so that they can exercise due
caution when parking - WATCH OUT, the traffic wardens are out to catch you.
Incidentally, I read in the Allerdale
'Have your say' forums that it costs £500,000 to
collect £550,000 worth of parking fines each year which by my reckoning means that,
to cover their administration charges, they have to impose at least 16,667 parking fines
perhaps that accounts for why appeals are unsuccessful - they are under
pressure to maintain a predetermined minimum number of fines.
Here's my account of what happened to us
During June 2005, I parked in Borrowdale Road, which to
the best of knowledge was, and has always been, restricted to 1 hour. On our
return, well within the 1 hour limitation, I discovered a parking permit
attached to the windscreen for failure to display a disc meter in the
windscreen. I had not realised that Keswick had introduced a disc
parking scheme; had I known this, I would have used the disc meter that I
keep in the car when visiting Ambleside where there are clear bright yellow
signs alerting visitors to the changes Ė BUT no such HELPFUL warnings for
visitors in Keswick.
was convinced that a mistake had been made and returned to Borrowdale Road
to discover that parking had changed; we had actually parked right against a
newly placed sign which is placed on top of what must be a 10 to 12 foot
pole and well beyond normal vision when you alight from your vehicle. There
were in fact 2 others signs; 1 virtually hidden behind the foliage of a
hedge & the other partially hidden.
I had made a
genuine mistake. There was no intent to park illegally. There was no intent
to deprive the local authority of any revenue Ė itís still limited to 1 hour
During the morning that I approached Borrowdale Road, I followed a
juggernaut reversing back up the road at slow speed. The view ahead was
restricted both by the tall vehicle & branches from trees that suitably
overhang the road & obscure the disc zone sign. Rather than continue around
Crow Park to park in the main car park, I took the first spot which from
memory was limited to 1 hour parking.
I thought that under the circumstances i.e. obscured
sign, 10 to 12 feet above the pavement & not obvious, no signs on entering
Keswick that disk zone metering was in force, that Allerdale Borough Council
would consider my appeal with due consideration and apply leniency by
withdrawing the parking permit once they were aware if the circumstances.
No such luck. All I received was a standard reply, not
even the courtesy of responding to the points raised in my letter.
spoke with Cumbria County Council who allegedly are responsible for the
parking in Keswick and was treated with utter rudeness; the person that I
spoke to who I will not name for legal reasons would not listen and
consistently talked over me. He did say that unlike Ambleside, disc zone
parking had been in force for some time and there was no need to place
yellow warning signs on the access points to Keswick Ė we have NEVER seen
any in all the years that we visit during March, June & September.
I also note from reading Allerdale Borough Councilís
'Have your say' forums on the subject that other unsuspecting motorists
have also been caught in much the same way.
Overall, Iím very disappointed from the experienced,
particularly the total lack of consideration to what was an honest mistake;
call it 'sour grapes' but I have vowed NEVER to use municipal car parks in Cumbria ever again as a
mark of protest thus depriving Allerdale Borough Council of any revenue from
me - if
you don't park in their car parks, then they can't 'fabricate' a Penalty
Keswick business's have been
so disturbed by the bad publicity around the
confusion over disc parking that they have
subsequently fitted dispensers to the Disk Zone
Parking poles complete with Disc Meters for use
The hedge in Borrowdale Road
has been cut right back to reveal the Parking
signs but alas the height of the signs have not
been reduced to a more sensible and easily
I don't suppose that
Allerdale Borough Council have refunded anyone
for their honest mistake - too much to expect.
And yes, my boycott of municipal car parks continues.
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