A ‘jobsworth’ traffic warden slapped a parking ticket on a furniture store’s van – despite their usual parking spot being two feet under flood water.
Freya Reynolds was devastated when the family business Reynolds Furniture in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, suffered costly damage when it was submerged during the past month’s storms.
They were unable to park their vans inside their warehouse on the industrial estate because of the extreme flooding on Friday, November 4.
Instead, one of the vehicles was left on the pavement outside their flooded building.
Unfortunately, below the filthy water, that section of road had been marked with double yellow lines, and a traffic warden who knew the area issued a parking fine.
Reynolds Furniture expressed outrage after one of its vans was hit with a parking ticket because it could not be returned to its flooded warehouse in Bognor Regis earlier this month
The driver left the van on a flooded street near the warehouse when the traffic warden struck
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Ms Reynolds, 31, criticised the unidentified traffic warden who was issuing tickets despite the extreme weather conditions.
She said the unidentified operative should have been more ’empathetic’ before proceeding with the £35 fine.
Ms Reynolds said the level of water on the road was so great that you could not drive along it.
The company posted images of the floodwater and the wider car park.
Reynolds Furniture posted snaps of their flooded forecourt and the parking ticket on the van’s windscreen to Facebook earlier this month [ Nov 5].
Ms Reynolds appealed the fine the following day but this was initially rejected by the council as ‘flooding would not permit parking on double yellow lines’.
Facebook users have since branded the warden ‘overzealous’, a ‘jobsworth’, while one wished ‘karma finds its way back to them’.
Ms Reynolds, from Bognor Regis, said: ‘It was an unprecedented situation and we didn’t have anywhere else to put it.
Freya Reynolds, pictured, of Reynolds Furniture unsuccessfully appealed the £35 parking ticket
Ms Reynolds said their warehouse was flooded during the storms causing significant damage
The van driver decided against going into deeper water in case the vehicle’s engine became hydrolocked
‘The warehouse had completely flooded so we couldn’t even get the vans into our yard.
‘We didn’t want to leave our vans on the road overnight but we felt we had no choice so we had to leave it outside the warehouse.
‘The whole road was flooded and the gym over the road was as well, so nobody was going to be using the road. That’s why we didn’t see it as an issue.
‘It never crossed my mind that someone would give us a parking ticket.
‘I got a text from the warehouse manager on Sunday. I was shocked and wondered who could have done that.
‘Surely they would have seen that the road was flooded and we couldn’t put our van anywhere else.
The council initially told Ms Reynolds they were upholding the fine before later reversing the decision
‘I wonder whether [the parking warden] wanted to have a look at the flooding themselves given everything was closed off and shut around there.
‘It’s the last thing you want after a stressful week.
‘I told them in the appeal that I think it’s unfair and I believed we’d be told not to do it again and that they understand why we did it.
‘Even their own council building up the road was flooded so you’d think they’d have some empathy for the situation.’
Reynolds Furniture’s warehouse backs onto Ferring Rife stream, which burst its banks during the recent floods.
Ms Reynolds said they’ve worked at the warehouse for 15 years without any flooding issues until the past two months.
She believes it will take six months to a year before they’re working normally again as it needs clearing and renovating.
Their fine will rise the longer it is not paid but Ms Reynolds plans to appeal it a second time.
Ms Reynolds said the firm had been operating from the business park in Bognor Regis for 15 years without suffering any flooding
Reynolds Furniture Facebook post said: ‘To top off a stressful week and with clearly nowhere else to park our van over the weekend due to being underwater, we’ve still been given a parking ticket.’
One commented: ‘You couldn’t make it up, words fail me.’
Another added: ‘Here’s hoping that karma finds its way back to the ticket writer!’
A third said: ‘Jobsworth!’
A fourth agreed and added: ‘Some things never change. Still struggling with over-zealous parking wardens!!’
Despite refusing the initial appeal, Arun District Council agreed to cancel the fine after being contacted by journalists.
They say the penalty was issued correctly but ‘given the extreme circumstances’ they will write off the money owed ‘as a gesture of goodwill’.
An Arun District Council spokesperson said: ‘Arun District Council appreciate the significant challenges posed by recent flooding in Bognor Regis and the difficulty this caused in locating suitable parking during this time.
‘The Penalty Charge Notice was issued correctly however, having considered the circumstances of the case, as a gesture of goodwill, Arun District Council will write off the balance owed.
‘Should vehicles be parked on double yellow lines or in breach of parking restrictions moving forward, a Penalty Charge Notice may be issued.
‘This course of action has been taken given the extreme circumstances and unprecedented weather conditions in this area at the time.’