'˜To park or not to park?': Traffic warden confusion in Louth

A family business was left baffled after a traffic warden told them they couldn't park their car in a loading bay - and said they should park on double yellow lines instead.

Andy Johnson with his daughter Megan.

Andy Johnson parked his car in the loading bay outside Peter Rhodes electrical shop in Mercer Row three weeks ago, while he spent five minutes lifting heavy items between his car and the ‘Potty About Pets’ pet shop, which is owned by his daughter Megan.

To his disbelief, Andy was approached by a traffic warden who told him that he could not park his car in the loading bay - even for business purposes - as his vehicle did not weigh more than 3.5 tons.

Andy managed to persuade the warden not to give him a parking ticket, but he was warned that he would receive one if it happened again.

Andy Johnson with his daughter Megan.

Incredibly, the warden suggested that Andy could park his car on the double yellow lines directly outside Potty About Pets instead - despite it being just a few feet away from the busy junction with Upgate, and despite the kerb being painted with yellow ‘no loading’ marks.

Andy told the Leader: “I spoke to a police officer afterwards, who said that if I did park on the yellow lines where the warden suggested, it would be illegal as my car would be an obstruction.

“We have our own parking space round the back, but for the purpose of loading and unloading big bags - some weighing around 20 kilograms - I thought it made sense to park my car in the loading bay out near the front of the shop.”

He added that there is no indication that the loading bay can only be used by vehicles weighing over 3.5 tonnes.

Andy Johnson with his daughter Megan.

Andy’s wife, Tracey, added that there are many restrictions in Louth which are making life needlessly difficult for local businesses.

The Leader contacted Matt Jones, parking services manager at Lincolnshire County Council, who said, “A small number of newly-recruited parking officers, employed by our contractor Apcoa, had been misinformed about how to categorise a goods vehicle.

“This may have led to the incident on Mercer Road, Louth, where someone was told they couldn’t park on a loading bay.

“A goods vehicle can in fact, be any motor vehicle which is designed to carry goods or products, and doesn’t have to weigh more than 3.5 tonnes.

“Once we became aware of this, we quickly ensured that all those officers were briefed on September 16, to ensure that they are fully up to speed with the correct information.

“Also, drivers can park on double yellow lines, provided they are unloading or loading continuously, and not leaving a vehicle unattended for long periods of time.”