Disabled drivers are among those to have been fined £100 by a private contractor employed by the council for parking in Stanmer Park, a councillor said.
Their plight was taken up by independent councillor Bridget Fishleigh at a virtual meeting of the full council.
She spoke out at a time when government advice during the coronavirus pandemic was to use alternatives to public transport.
She said that the there were two official car parks there that had been closed before the new car park had been completed.
As a result, many park users who came by car, particularly blue badge holders, were parking along the verges where some bays had been created but where parking was otherwise prohibited.
But, Councillor Fishleigh said, the signs saying that parking in bays was prohibited were too small and hard to spot.
She criticised the parking contractor, One Parking Solutions, and called on the council to end the company’s contract.
She told fellow councillors that the Labour MP for Brighton Kemptown, Lloyd Russell-Moyle, had said that One Parking Solutions should be “chucked out the city”.
Mr Russell-Moyle spoke out after the company fined drivers for pulling into a car park in Peacehaven, in one case for a medical emergency and in other to collect someone.
Before the Brighton and Hove City Council meeting last Thursday (28 January) Councillor Fishleigh said: “There’s nothing to do and so a walk around Stanmer lifts the spirits.
“Not everyone can ride a bike there and many people don’t want to get on the bus at this time.
“So, as there aren’t enough spaces, people are parking on the verges.”
She said that the council had said that cars were parked in a way that prevented the 78 bus from completing its route.
But she said, she had been unable to confirm that this was the case with Brighton and Hove Buses.
People had parked on the verges for many years, she said, but now faced parking fines if they were not in the car park.
She urged the council to reconsider using a parking company to dish out £100 fines to people who just wanted to go for a walk in the park.
Green councillor Amy Heley, who chairs the council’s Environment, Transport and Sustainability Committee, said that the council would continue to employ the company at the park.
Councillor Heley said: “There is clear signage to indicate where parking is not permitted and where it is.
“Vehicles parking on the grass areas cause damage to the beautiful environment that people are there to enjoy.
“The verge parking often causes problems for larger vehicles that need to access and exit the park, including buses, tractors, service vehicles and emergency vehicles.”
She said that people should use other means of transport to get to the park, such as cycling and walking, and – when the risk of spreading covid-19 reduced – public transport.
Councillor Fishleigh asked if Councillor Heley approved of parking tickets for blue badge holders on council-owned land.
Councillor Heley said: “I support the rights that blue badge holders have – and that would apply to Stanmer Park as well.”
One Parking Solutions was approached for comment but did not respond.
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