Anger over parking tickets in Tewkesbury during floods
TRAFFIC wardens in Tewkesbury have been accused of lacking compassion after ticketing cars stranded due to flood water.
While some residents and businesses in the town have battled to prevent their premises from flooding, they have had to park their vehicles where they can.
But that has, at times, meant leaving them in areas not normally allowed.
Borough council traffic wardens have handed out a number of parking tickets as a result.
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It came as Gloucestershire County Council made a fund of £50,000 available for those worst affected by the floods.
Aggrieved motorists cannot understand why the rules are not temporarily suspended during the highest flooding in Tewkesbury since 2007.
Some feel the council is more interested in making money than helping people.
One town centre trader, who asked not to be identified, said he had received £50 tickets two days running this week and a colleague had received three tickets.
He admitted parking on the pavement, but said it was because other parking areas were flooded and he had left his car so it was not blocking the way for motorists or pedestrians.
He said: "I'm going to appeal against my tickets. Even a bit of common sense would have been nice. There's nowhere to park and yet the traffic warden told me she was not allowed to use discretion or common sense."
Town, borough and county councillor Mike Sztymiak called for normal parking rules to be relaxed in the floods.
He said: "If we don't, we're putting profit before the people. These are emergency times. Many of the roads have been flooded. Where are they going to park?"
The council rejected the call for the parking rules to be suspended.
Its director of development, Mella McMahon, said: "The recent flooding is causing parking difficulties for some residents and businesses so we have been in touch with our permit holders to let them know they can park in any available car park if their usual one is affected by the floods.
"As always, we must ensure that we act in the best interest of everyone and, given the reduced available parking as a result of the flooding, it is important that this it is carefully managed to ensure ongoing availability for residents, businesses and visitors."
Regarding the aggrieved trader, she said his car was parked illegally and was causing an obstruction.
As well as defending itself over parking, Tewkesbury Borough Council pointed out that it had provided more than 4,000 sandbags to help protect residents' homes and had visited people in vulnerable properties to see if they were okay.
Gloucestershire County Council announced that it was making £50,000 available to help those affected by flooding.
It said details of how people could get financial help would be released in the next few days.
Its leader, Councillor Mark Hawthorne, said: "Much of what we've seen over the last few days could have been a lot worse had we not invested since 2007.
"Unfortunately, around 50 properties in the county have flooded in the last few days."
Twigworth residents Val and Derek Lown were yesterday glad they had spent £1,000 on wrapping plastic flood defence sheeting around their home to keep the water out.
Not so lucky were Kelly and Ian Baikie, who were dealing with floodwater inside the Haw Bridge Inn close to the River Severn at Tirley.
Kelly said: "It is crazy when you think we are normally about 10 foot away from the river, it is set down quite low.
It has to come up and over the banks and then it is a good six foot over the road to get into the pub. That means the volume of water has to be huge.
"Normally you can only see the very edge of the river if you look from the window."