Is it fair to penalise me for parking a large van across two car parking spaces?

I was out in my employer's van the other day and had to pop into my local shopping mall. The area in which I wished to park had no spaces big enough for me. Realising I was going to have to straddle two spaces I parked as tidily as possible and rushed into the shop for no more than five minutes. When I returned to my van I was met by a parking attendant who had placed a ticket on my windscreen informing me that I was being fined £45 for 'not parking correctly within the markings of the bay or space'. This doubles if I don't pay within 14 days and before 28 days.

I wasn't very happy but the attendant explained (very politely) that as the ticket had already been issued there was nothing he could do, but gave me the details of his company (UK Parking Control Ltd) if I wished to appeal. There were no spaces big enough for my van and so there was nothing else I could have done bar not shopping at all. I think this is just a way of catching unwary innocents and screwing them for their money. If I had turned up in an articulated lorry, that would have been different. My vehicle is large but not unreasonably so and certainly no bigger than a medium sized camper van. What do you think and where do I stand?

Asked on 9 August 2012 by TM, Wotton-under-Edge

Answered by Honest John
We now live in a mean minded country in which the most profitable businesses are those pursuing people for penalties of some sort or another. Yet of 1,800,000 parking charges issued by members of the British Parking Association last year, 845 resulted in commencement of court action, 49 actually went to court and BPA members won 24. Those are the odds. As from 1 October, members of the BPA gain increased powers to pursue registered keepers of vehicles for unpaid ‘parking charges’, so every driver needs to be extremely vigilant to ensure they comply with the regulations in force in any car park.

The only way left to beat these people is to comply with their regulations to the letter and, if they ever cook up unjustified penalties, vigorously pursue them through the courts for fraud, using private prosecution if the CPS refuses to do its job. They must conform to every clause of Schedule 4 attached to Clause 56 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2011. If you want a copy of Schedule 4 I can email one to you.
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