Royston dad prevails in parking plight brought about by ‘confusing signage’ in town centre

Gary Riches was issued a parking ticket after paying to park in the wrong car park.

Gary Riches was issued a parking ticket after paying to park in the wrong car park. - Credit: Archant

A dad-of-two from Royston who ended up paying for a space in the wrong car park “due to unclear signage” has said he is relieved that the ticket he incurred has been withdrawn – but wishes “common sense had prevailed sooner”.

Gary Riches parked in front of the Carlo & Co’s barbers in Market Hill on Friday, using the RingGo app to pay for a ticket.

The app came up with Market Place as the nearest payment option, when it turns out Gary was parked in the adjacent Angel Pavement car park. Both are run by North Herts District Council.

He told the Crow: “I didn’t have cash on me and I was running late for an opticians appointment, so I used the RingGo app There wasn’t clear signs as to which car park I was in, and I was equal distance to both paying machines.

He said: “It just frustrated me because the ticket said I hadn’t paid to park at all, I don’t have much time as it is, and it’s all stress I don’t need.

“I have got enough to deal with, my mother passed away last Monday, and I was having to put my time and energy into disputing the ticket, and I need to do so many other things.”

Gary disputed the fine online and shared what happened on Royston Reporting Page on Facebook.

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He said: “I don’t think I’ve had that many comments on anything I’ve posted – not even when my children were born!”

Gary moved to Royston in 2014 with Sophie, his wife of eight years. The couple have two children – Evie, five, and one-year-old Oscar.

The 36-year-old found out this afternoon that the parking ticket had been cancelled by North Herts District Council.

Councillor Ray Shakespeare-Smith, NHDC’s executive member for policy, transport and green issues, said: “NHDC will look into the apparent confusion over the car parks at Angel Pavement and Market Hill in Royston and seek to ensure that they are clearly identifiable.

“While we do not normally discuss individual parking charge notices, clearly an honest mistake was made and parking had been paid for – so the penalty charge will be cancelled.”

Gary said: “While I am relieved that the PCN has now been cancelled, all of this could have been avoided with the smallest amount of common sense being applied.

“Instead, there has been undue pressure and uncertainty at a time when I really could have done without it.

“I’d really like to know how many PCNs have been served in those those spaces, how many were contested, and how many of those contested were upheld?”

“Also, whilst I appreciate they have told you the PCN has been cancelled, I’m still yet to hear anything. I dread to think how long I’d been worrying if the Crow hadn’t got involved.”