I was invited to lecture in Eastbourne on November 26. It was a dark and rainy night and I quickly parked my car in an empty bay opposite the hotel in which I was staying.
The time was just before 5pm. After I had signed in I asked if it was safe to park my car in the bay opposite and was told it was quite safe as parking restrictions had now been suspended for the winter.
Imagine my dismay when returning to the desk later I was informed that I had been issued with a parking ticket. It seems that from 4pm the bay had been suspended to allow for lining work to be undertaken . The hotel had not been informed about this suspension and on contacting other hotels in the vicinity it seems that they were not informed either. The hotel manager said that I ought to appeal and gave me a letter in which he said that the hotel had no information about the suspension and thus guests had been misinformed.
I duly appealed and received a reply saying that there was a notice of suspension on a lamp post and that they had taken every effort to inform businesses in the area. My appeal was refused.
I assume the ‘every effort’ consisted of fixing a notice to the post. No cones were put in place as my appeal refusal stated that they caused confusion as they were frequently moved.
I was further told that for reasons of Health and Safety the Civilian Enforcement Officers are not allowed to enter private premises to warn drivers that their vehicle is parked in a prohibited area on health and safety grounds.
The CEO did however inform the hotel after issuing the ticket. I can only assume his health and safety was not compromised by taking this bold step.
I consider that the warning given was totally inadequate and I will certainly think twice before returning to Eastbourne. The welcome I received at the theatre was warm and generous but the attitude of the authorities could not have been more bureaucratic. Residents have my sympathy.
TERRY WAITE, Bury St Edmunds.