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Victory in Accrington parking row
A PARKING row which affected hundreds of people has ended in victory for one couple after an eight-month legal battle.
Hyndburn Council and the area’s MP Graham Jones intervened when scores of tickets were issued to shoppers using a free car park in Accrington.
Now one couple affected by a ticket they received last summer at the privately-owned Eastgate Retail Park are celebrating a victory.
Town leaders said the change from three-hour free parking to 90 minutes was unfair and not clearly signed.
Despite backing from leading figures in the town, Knuzden couple Jean and David Whitt-aker endured an eight-month legal battle with ticket issuers Vehicle Control Services Ltd.
The couple were issued with the ticket in July last year after not spotting signs advising them of the new time limit.
In spite of the retail park saying publicly that the time limit change was a mistake and was being restored, the couple were sent a £60 fine in August.
Following advice from the council and MP Mr Jones, the Whittakers decided not to pay, and in September received a final demand notice.
In January, the stakes were raised when they were threatened with action by a debt collection service. Then last month, they received letters advising them Graham White solicitors, which operates from the same address as Vehicle Control Services, would be pursuing court action that could result in them paying more than £200.
As advised by Hyndburn Council, the couple contacted National Motorist Action Group, which had offered Hyndburn residents caught up in the row free legal backing.
After Vehicle Control Services were contaced by the motorists’ rights group, the ticket has been dropped.
Neil Herron, from NMAG, said: “Common sense has prevailed and the ticket has now been cancelled, and an apology will be forthcoming.
“We have been involved in discussions with Vehicle Control Services Ltd and they have agreed that this should not have happened.”
Mr Whittaker said: “The last stage of things got quite frightening. We are relieved it is all over with. We don’t go out and break the law, so to get letters like that does worry you.”