A DRIVER who received a parking ticket in a free Helensburgh car park has won his appeal against the punishment – after a 15-month battle with Argyll and Bute Council.

Thomas Nelson was hit with the £30 fine in February 2018 on the grounds that he was parked outwith a bay in the free section of the town’s pier car park.

But the Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland has overturned the punishment, deeming that there was “insufficient signage” to warn motorists of the rules.

Mr Nelson has claimed that the authority is using motorists as a 'piggy bank' and says he will now write to the council's leader, Councillor Aileen Morton, on the issue.

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He said: “The only thing that the council can do now is to appeal against this decision at the High Court, which would cost hundreds of thousands of pounds.

“The council parking section just treat the public as a piggy bank.

“I shall now be writing to the council leader who has to enforce that the parking section of the council pays back all previous parking fines to drivers who have fallen foul of not parking within a marked bay in Helensburgh.

“A lot of street bays are not marked clearly either.

“How many drivers and tourists visiting Helensburgh and the free pier section of the car park had their day spoilt by this council?

“I could tell you dozens of heartbreaking stories from the frail and the elderly who have had tickets while showing a blue badge, with absolutely no sympathy on the council appeal.”

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A judgement by a Parking and Bus Lane Tribunal for Scotland adjudicator said: “The appellant’s main argument is that there is no signage in the free car park advising of a restriction to park only in marked bays.

“If the council had wished to enforce a double yellow line restriction, as his car was parked on double yellow lines, they would have to state this on the penalty charge notice.

“Having considered the photographs submitted and the explanation of the layout provided by the appellant, it is clear that there was only one sign showing the restrictions regarding parking in marked bays of the car park.

“This sign is located in the pay and display part of the car park and not in the free part of the car park.

“At the entrance to the free car park the signage states ‘Long stay section, all vehicles permitted, no charge beyond this point’.

“Whereas the sign in the pay and display part states among other restrictions, ‘No parking outwith marked bays’.

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“I conclude from this difference that drivers in the free part of the car park were not advised that parking was only allowed in marked bays, whereas in the pay and display part this was notified as a restriction.

“I also consider that the council is under a duty to indicate the restrictions in the car park if they wish to enforce these by penalty charges.

“I further agree that a double yellow line restriction was not relevant as the PCN was issued on the basis that the vehicle was parked beyond the bay markings.

“I thus allow the appeal on the basis of insufficient signage.”

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: “Our aim is to ensure that people park fairly so that spaces are available for everyone who needs them. We give out parking tickets where they are required.

“Rather than spend resources appealing decisions our focus is managing parking to combine the needs of businesses, shoppers, residents and tourists.”