MOTORISTS caught out by new winter parking charges at Christchurch car parks have had their fines cancelled.

58 parking charge notices were served across three car parks between October 1 and October 11.

After complaints were made to Christchurch Borough Council over a lack of signage about the new policy, the authority has cancelled all 58 penalties.

The 50 pence winter fees for the car parks at Highcliffe Castle, Avon Run and Steamer Point were launched on October 1 and signs were put up about the changes next to parking machines.

Additional posters were put up at the sites between 8am and 9am on October 12.

At Steamer Point, a small paper sign has been attached to the metal pole on the far side of the entrance.

The council says the ‘temporary’ signs were put in place while official notices were organised.

These latest warnings were due to be put up on Friday (20.10) afternoon.

Pamela Murton, 64, who received a ticket on October 12, said she did not go to the machine at the rear of the car park as there was no reason to having parked free of charge across Christchurch in the winter for many years.

The Burton resident said she was unaware the charges had been introduced and on walking out of the car park there was no warning message to motorists.

“If there was visible signage there I would not have a problem paying the fee,” Ms Murton said.

“There is no proof it was put up by the council and there was nothing reminding people to pay as they left the car park.

“I’m happy to pay 50 pence to park, but it never occurred to me about paying as I haven’t in the past.

“I had no idea the charges had been introduced and even the additional signs they have now put up do not look official - anyone could have put them there.”

The winter charging proposals underwent a significant public consultation earlier in the year, with residents voicing their worries.

More than 25 objections were raised about the scheme, including from several residents’ associations.

Lindsay Cass, Head of Property and Engineering, said: “Winter charging was introduced from October 1 in three coastal car parks in Christchurch. Whilst the new tariffs are included on the signs next to the parking machines, we accept that we should have displayed additional signage around the car parks in advance.

“Signs have now been put up to advise of the new charges and we would like to thank residents for drawing this matter to our attention. All Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) issued from October 1 until the signage was put up on October 12 will be cancelled or refunded if already paid.”