PARKING: Do not penalise the tourists

Congratulations to your local authority on implementing the disc parking scheme in your towns, which should encourage more people to visit.

I am from the north of Scotland and for the last five years have holidayed in Northumberland for a number of reasons, not least for the standard of property and scenery. Between July 11 and 18 this year, I visited the area once again.

One particular day I visited Morpeth and tried to purchase a parking disc from a parking machine, which was empty. However, my stay was short and thereafter I went to Alnwick. I parked in Bondgate, outside Costa, and went to the Tourist Information Centre to purchase a disc.

It must have been about 4.35pm. However, I was in a queue and had to wait about 10 minutes to get served. When I returned to my vehicle I had received a parking ticket for non display of a parking disc, having parked for 12 minutes.

I returned to the Tourist Information Centre and explained all to the staff member and was advised to appeal. I have done so, but now have been asked to produce the disc I purchased.

This is not a great problem, only that I left it in the accommodation in order that other holidaymakers could make best use of it – perhaps stupidly I was trying to be helpful to others.

I now have to contact the owner of the property to ask him to photograph and scan the disc. I also put an entry in his guest book to the effect of utilisation of the parking disc. I have to ask him to photograph this entry and send to me also.

I write just to highlight that I am a law abiding, 53-year-old professional, who visited your area with my family and dog and was parked for 12 minutes without a disc whilst I waited to purchase one, and I am being made to jump through hoops to avoid paying a fine of £25.

If my story was not factually correct I could contact any local business and ask them to send me a parking disc for £1. I could then have sent it to the local authority. However, because I was too slow in sourcing a parking disc I have to now go to great lengths to prove my innocence.

Come on Northumberland County Council, build on your good work regarding parking and make a distinction between those that willingly are happy to pay to park in your towns and those that are not, and do not penalise the tourist for taking 12 minutes to purchase a parking disc.

Douglas Mackenzie

By email.