Torridge visitor objects to parking letter
A VISITOR to Bideford has taken exception to the way car parking is enforced - even though Torridge District Council has cancelled a penalty notice issued against him. G R Bennett of Leamington Spa accuses the council of Big Brother tactics after he wa
A VISITOR to Bideford has taken exception to the way car parking is enforced - even though Torridge District Council has cancelled a penalty notice issued against him.G R Bennett of Leamington Spa accuses the council of "Big Brother" tactics after he was issued a ticket in the Churchfields car park in Appledore.He wrote explaining that he had purchased a ticket, but that it had blown under a tinted area of the windscreen and could not be seen and also sent a copy of his valid parking ticket for the time and date. He was granted a reprieve. But what has bothered Mr Bennett is an accompanying letter from the council which explains that data collected through the issuing of the ticket may be disclosed to other enforcement agencies, other departments within the council or to external parties for related purposes or as required by the law.Mr Bennett said: "Clearly Big Brother will be on the lookout for me as I may well be a repeat offender. I find this letter very threatening and do wonder if it is really necessary to write in such strong terms. Tourism in the area must be important and I suggest that such strong-arm tactics are not conducive to encouraging visitors to return."The council told the Gazette that the wording concerning Mr Bennett was suggested by Devon County Council and is a requirement in all standard enforcement letters and also appears on the back of tickets. A statement from the council explained that this was not intended to create offence, but that there were serial offenders and the sharing of information was one way to help combat this. It was also important to note that the wording stated data "may" be passed on to other agencies, not "will" - and only for the purposes of enforcement or as required by law and all in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998.The council's chief executive John van de Laarschot said: "Failure to pay and display is undoubtedly an issue our officers have to deal with on a regular basis. I have fed Mr Bennett's comments back to our parking team, to assist them in continually improving their level of customer service.