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News & views

My true love sent to me... nine parking signs

[15 Dec 2013] High Peak Borough Council had the bright idea of offering motorists free parking in three council-owned car parks in Glossop, Derbyshire on a recent Saturday, in honour of its Christmas lights switch-on-athon. Plenty of drivers must have thought it was all too good to be true, though, because they didn’t trust or didn’t see the signs and put a total of £218 into the ticket machines. Which tells us something about the micro-climate of fear created by the robber barons of the parking industry, both private and municipal, with their swingeing fines for petty offences.

The council had erected nine A4-size signs advertising the free parking in each car park, though the Buxton Advertiser (5 Dec) noted that one of them, at the municipal buildings car park, was positioned so that it was obscured by the parking meter. A councillor also said several signs had been torn down or tampered with (other forms of entertainment being in short supply in Glossop).

It’s interesting how people tend to follow their normal habits and don’t read new signs unless they are well positioned and striking. For example, had signs saying ‘Free parking today’ been draped and taped over every parking meter, they might not have been ignored or torn down.

The council has passed the £218 to the volunteer committee who organized the lights. They’ll use it towards next year’s event – or maybe for a knees-up in the sleepy market town, most famous as the birthplace of novelist Hilary Mantel and the sometime home and workplace of philosopher-engineer Ludwig Wittgenstein. 

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