Dismay as charity ride met with parking ticket

Charity cyclists whose van was given a parking ticket in Blackpool
Charity cyclists whose van was given a parking ticket in Blackpool
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Charity cyclists were left fuming when their reward for completing a gruelling 90 mile ride to Blackpool included a parking ticket from the council.

The group, which was raising money for Blackpool charity Donna’s Dream House, woke up to a penalty notice on their support van after staying overnight in the resort after cycling from Otley, near Leeds.

They appealed the ticket, arguing they deserved clemency in recognition of the fact they had raised £3,000 for the charity which provides holidays for seriously ill children and their families.

But town hall bosses turned down their request and said they must pay.

Paul Meehan, who organises the annual ride, said: “About 10 of us had taken part in the ride and at the end we put all our bikes into our van, But the driver said the van was too high to get into any of the nearby secure car parks and we were worried about parking it on the road because we didn’t want it broken into and the bikes stolen.

“So we decided to park it in front of the Ibis Hotel in Talbot Square where we were staying.

“The hotel warned us we were likely to get a ticket, but we thought since we were raising money for one of Blackpool’s main charities, they might be more kind-hearted about it. We lost our appeal and have now paid the £35 ticket.”

Town hall parking chiefs said they were happy to support charities but the van had been parked in an area where it clearly said parking was prohibited.

Coun Christine Wright, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for car parking, said: “We always look to support charities wherever we can and our parking team assist people with charitable events on a regular basis. If people carrying out charitable acts have logistical issues to overcome we always do our very best to help when they get in contact with us in advance.

“In this case, however, that did not happen and therefore we had no idea the vehicle had any connection to a charity.

“It was clearly parked on the paved area and there is clear signage to say that parking is not allowed therefore a ticket was issued. There are a large number of secure car parks, both public and private, within yards of that area.”

The ride took place over the August bank holiday weekend, with Mr Meehan receiving the outcome of the appeal against the parking ticket this month.