Call for common sense in loading bay row

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The director of Age Concern Luton is calling for a rethink on town centre parking after the charity was hit with a number of parking fines.

Colette McKeaveney said the charity has received several parking tickets, particularly when using the loading bay by their King Street office.

When workers are loading items into the van, they lock the doors each time they go back into the office.

Colette said: “Apparently if you shut the doors of the van you are not deemed as ‘loading’ so we get fines despite not overstaying the 15 minute limit.

“If we left the van open, people could steal things from out the back. We have all sorts in there including tools which could be stolen for use in assaults and break-ins. The loading bay is on the opposite side of the road and the boxes are bulky so we have no choice but to lock the van each time we go back for more.”

A LBC spokesperson said the traffic regulation order in King Street does not allow for any exemptions for charity vehicles.

They said: “Loading and unloading restrictions are in place to avoid congestion, allow free movement of traffic and allow all drivers to access parking in the area.”

“If someone wishes to challenge a ticket they must follow correct procedures and the council will consider it.”

Colette said: “I understand we have to abide by policies but the policies have to be sensible in the first place. As a charity we are providing the best service imaginable to vulnerable people in the town. Within an hour of being notified we get heaters out to someone in need, we are always getting emergency referrals for people coming out of hospital who need our help. Getting these tickets is costly and frustrating.”

Colette called for some “common sense”.

She said: “We know carers always have problems too, if they are taking heavy shopping into a disabled person’s house or walking a frail person up the drive they shouldn’t be getting tickets. We need sensible rules.

“Town centre parking is always a problem but times are changing. We’ve got the busway now – maybe we can have a rethink on parking.”