Claims that St Albans' hinged parking signs are bad for business

PUBLISHED: 16:00 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 14:01 06 May 2010

CONFUSING car parking signs in St Albans city centre are driving shoppers away, a local trader has claimed. In response to last week s Herts Advertiser (February 26) story on changeable parking sign in the city centre Josie Wentworth, a George Street trad

CONFUSING car parking signs in St Albans city centre are driving shoppers away, a local trader has claimed.

In response to last week's Herts Advertiser (February 26) story on changeable parking sign in the city centre Josie Wentworth, a George Street trader, has claimed that the "ludicrous system" is costing her customers every week.

Traffic wardens can alter the car parking terms for the Romeland Hill area by means of a hinged sign, which displays one set of terms and conditions and hides another. The second set of terms restricts parking between 3.30pm and 5.30pm to allow St Albans School coaches to park.

Mrs Wentworth, who has been selling at the By George Auction Centre for 25 years, said that she only noticed the hinged flap last November when she was fined for parking in her usual Romeland Hill space.

Said Mrs Wentworth: "When I parked my car, the ticket was valid; but then someone comes along and changes the sign to restrict parking between 3.30pm and 5.30pm and I'm fined £70!"

Mrs Wentworth said that she was most concerned by the effect the restrictions had on her business: "My customers can park legally one week and then return to the same spot a week later and be fined. Stupid parking regulations are putting off the few customers we have."

She added: "To have hinged moveable signs with ever changing restrictions just penalises visitors to St Albans. At a time when it is hard enough for any retailer in St Albans to do business, you'd think that the council would want to help small businesses not alienate them."

A district council spokesperson said that the Romeland Hill restrictions were in place to cater for the Boys School and added: "The details of these variable restrictions, which are common throughout the country, are shown on signs within the bay.

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