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Journalist's parking ticket could change the rules

A regional press journalist could have opened the door for hundreds of motorists to claim back parking fines after he challenged a ticket issued for parking in a disabled bay.

Scunthorpe Telegraph chief reporter Damien Brook, who was also a midlands reporter for the Press Association and used to work at the Nottingham Evening Post and Gloucester Citizen, appealed against two parking tickets issued on his car in Nottingham.

And although the National Parking Adjudication Service rejected his complaint about being ticketed twice for one offence – it found the letters spelling out “DISABLED” in the road were too far apart.

The decision could set a precedent for future – and retrospective – “offences”.

A photograph of the parking bay submitted as evidence against Damien to the appeals tribunal by Nottingham City Council showed where he’d parked incorrectly – but also the incorrect markings. An eagle-eyed adjudicator spotted the problem that would make both fines redundant.

Damien said: “I freely admitted that I was in the wrong parking place.

“What I objected to was receiving two tickets for what I saw as one parking offence.”

The tribunal dispatched a parking adjudicator who measured the markings and confirmed they were not up to the regulation requirements. The spaces between the letters in the word “DISABLED” were around 1m apart.

According to the 1994 Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions Act, the gaps should have been no greater than 15cm.

But the city has refused to accept the Adjudication Service findings.

It has already filed an appeal in a bid to convince the body to overturn the ruling.

A city council spokesman said: “He was parked in a disabled bay one day and was still there the next. Theoretically he is still liable for the fines and in practical terms it still says “disabled” in big letters.”

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