Garstang Mayor Chris Ryan has a very special souvenir of the town’s annual Children’s festival – a parking ticket.
The Mayor, along with other VIP guests, festival queens and organisers had just enjoyed a post-parade lunch with the Mayor and Mayoress of Wyre, John and Linda Hodgkinson, in the town’s arts centre on Monday when he found his car, left on the car park opposite, had been booked.
“I couldn’t believe it,” said Coun Ryan. “It said free parking until 1pm and we were just half an hour over.
“The warden booked a few people. We argued, but he refused to budge. People were very upset, you would have thought there could have been some flexibility, as the event was running late because of bad weather. The weather didn’t put a dampener on the festival, but the traffic warden certainly managed to put a dampener on our day.”
A festival spokesman said none of the organisers had been booked.
A Wyre Council spokesman said: “Only four penalty charge notices were issued, and one was for parking in a restricted area and blocking an entrance. The others were for not displaying a valid ticket, voucher or parking clock.
“There were no requests from organisers of the event to extend free parking times.
“Parking officers were instructed to remove signs at 1pm and carry out their duties as normal. They could not be expected to know an event had over-run.
“There is a right of appeal and cases will be considered on merit.”
Initial ideas for the Berry Lane public conveniences after their closure was their demolition and the area to be landscaped. But local and visitor pressure on the town council accelerated its own lobbying to the borough council, which decided at its meeting on May 21, after hearing from head of engineering Terry Longden and Longridge Town Council’s working group, to re-open the facility at certain times.
The borough is to be liable for running costs not exceeding £2,500. Meanwhile, the town council takes on operational responsibility.
It will organise opening and closing times at week-ends and bank holidays - but not Christmas.
It will also source local help for cleaning and maintenance duties of toilets which have electronic time locks.
In his letter to The News (see page 6) Mayor of Longridge Coun David Moon writes that times of opening “may be extended subject to costs.” Underlining the need for local help to maintain the facility, the councillor also requests that if any local business or organisation is interested in its sponsorship that “the town council would be delighted to hear from them.”