Cyclist's anger at Look Out parking fineBy Becky Barnes
October 09, 2012
A cyclist who is one of hundreds of people hit by parking fines at The Look Out and Coral Reef plans to boycott the car parks.
Bracknell Forest Council revealed that more than 150 fines had been issued after the controversial charges were introduced at the car parks two and half weeks ago.
James Johnson visits Swinley Forest every few months and parked at The Look Out in Nine Mile Ride, to cycle in the woods with friends on Saturday, September 22.
Mr Johnson, of Newbury, said he will boycott the car park if the council makes him pay up and has called for an ‘adequate grace period’ for people to get used to the new charges.
He said: “Parking at The Look Out has always been free of charge and we had no reason to check or assume the arrangement had changed. The first point at which we became aware of the issue was the PCN (Penalty charge notice) attached to the windscreen of my vehicle.”
Mr Johnson said he purchased a ticket covering the three hours he was there and sent it alongside his appeal letter on Monday, September 24.
He said: “I dare say that a number of other regular forest users, who come from outside the local authority have also fallen foul of this.
“I believe there should be an adequate grace period and not a total enforcement of this new rule in the month that it is applied.
“On a broader note, I would like to know at what point “the woods” became something families now have to pay for?
“It is hardly congruous with the promotion of a healthier outdoor lifestyle and I think that the councillors responsible for implementing this policy should be ashamed of themselves.
“It’s clear money spinning and nothing else.
“My friends and I will no longer be visiting Swinley Forest and will instead find another place to ride our bikes within our own local authority where we are at liberty to park for free.”
One hundred fines were issued in the first week of the charges, mostly at The Look Out and more than 50 have been handed out since then.
A council spokeswoman said nine written complaints had been received since the charges were introduced on Monday, September 17, and a number of fines had been contested.
She added the council cannot give an exact figure of the number of contested fines as ‘the challenge and appeal process can take up to three months’.
She also said figures on the revenue raised at the two sites since the charges began would not be available until later in the month.