Cyclists were left furious after the council refused to dismiss parking tickets they incurred while riding a 90 mile charity challenge.
The group, who were cycling from Otley near Leeds to Blackpool over the August Bank Holiday, found a penalty notice on their support van when they stayed overnight in Blackpool after the 90 mile grind.
Despite asking for clemency from the council in recognition of their efforts to raise £3,000 for Blackpool charity Donna’s Dream House, which provides holidays for seriously ill children and their families, they were told they would have to pay up.
Paul Meehan, who organises the annual ride, told the Blackpool Gazette: “About 10 of us had taken part in the ride and at the end we put all our bikes into our van, But the driver said the van was too high to get into any of the nearby secure car parks and we were worried about parking it on the road because we didn’t want it broken into and the bikes stolen.
“So we decided to park it in front of the Ibis Hotel in Talbot Square where we were staying.
“The hotel warned us we were likely to get a ticket, but we thought since we were raising money for one of Blackpool’s main charities, they might be more kind-hearted about it. We lost our appeal and have now paid the £35 ticket.”
Coun Christine Wright, Blackpool Council’s cabinet member with responsibility for car parking, said: “We always look to support charities wherever we can and our parking team assist people with charitable events on a regular basis. If people carrying out charitable acts have logistical issues to overcome we always do our very best to help when they get in contact with us in advance.
“In this case, however, that did not happen and therefore we had no idea the vehicle had any connection to a charity.
“It was clearly parked on the paved area and there is clear signage to say that parking is not allowed therefore a ticket was issued. There are a large number of secure car parks, both public and private, within yards of that area.”
After an unpromising start, having to be bribed by her parents to learn to ride without stabilisers, Sarah became rather keener on cycling in her university years, and was eventually persuaded to upgrade to proper road cycling by the prospect of a shiny red Italian bike, which she promptly destroyed by trapping a pair of knickers in the rear derailleur. Sarah writes about about cycling every weekend on road.cc.