Ticket strikes wrong chord with musician

Bar owner Stephen Pierre's vehicle was given a parking ticket in St John's Square while his band was playing to raise money for Trinity Hospice
Bar owner Stephen Pierre's vehicle was given a parking ticket in St John's Square while his band was playing to raise money for Trinity Hospice
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A bar owner has been left fuming after a parking ticket was slapped on his van during a Blackpool fund-raising gig in aid of Trinity Hospice.

Stephen Pierre, who says his band The Galleonairs has raised £6,500 since it started playing at Easter, received fixed penalty notices on Friday and Sunday after parking outside St John’s Church in St John’s Square.

Now he is set to appeal against the fines and has accused the council of being ‘over-zealous’.

Mr Pierre, who owns The Galleon Bar on Abingdon Street, said: “We’re a local band and since Easter we have been playing once or twice a month in St John’s Square.

“We have collected £6,500 for Trinity Hospice and we are creating a good atmosphere in the town centre, as well as showcasing young talent.

“The van is parked on church land, which we have permission to do, and we are not blocking any entrances.

“When the parking enforcement officer put the ticket on on Sunday, I couldn’t argue because we were in the middle of a performance. There were about 40 people watching and they were appalled we were getting a ticket.

“Our equipment is expensive,it includes vintage guitars, sound equipment and a digital keyboard, and we need the van nearby because if it rains we need to cover the instruments up very quickly.

“I think the council has been over-zealous about this.”

Mr Pierre says he intends to appeal the parking tickets, and if the charges are withdrawn has pledged to donate the amount would have paid in fines to Trinity Hospice.

He added: “I’m going to continue with the gigs. The church has said we can park at the back in their churchyard if there is space.”

Blackpool Council has now agreed to rescind the ticket.

Coun Christine Wright, cabinet member for parking, said: “Blackpool residents would reasonably expect if they drove to town and parked their vehicle in the middle of St John’s Square in the middle of Sunday afternoon without permission then they would receive a ticket because it is a restricted, pedestrianised area.

“We have to apply parking rules with consistency in order to be fair to everyone and that has been the case here.

“On this occasion, however, given the offer to donate the equivalent amount of money to charity, we’re happy to rescind the ticket.”