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Anger as traffic wardens target college graduation night as event overruns
8:00pm Monday 28th October 2013 in Echo News
TRAFFIC wardens swooped on a car park to ticket motorists while they celebrated at a graduation ceremony.
However, the evening was marred for several families when traffic wardens turned up to dish out 22 tickets to cars parked in the Shorefield Road car park.
The ceremony had overrun, giving the wardens the opportunity to dole out tickets.
Sarah Young, 21, who got a 2:2 degree in graphic design, attended the ceremony with her boyfriend Neil West, 25, who had a £50 ticket slapped on his car in the car park.
Miss Young, of Langport Drive, Westcliff, said: “We rushed out to the car, but had already got a ticket.
“There were two women walking round giving out tickets.
“People were coming out and really having a go at them.
“The wardens kept coming back to cars as their tickets ran out. It really spoilt it for people.”
The ceremony was expected to finish at about 7.30pm, but didn’t end until 9pm.
Miss Young, who has written a letter of complaint to the council, added: “I thought it was trying to promote the college and Essex University to get people to come to the town.
“There were lots of people there from places like Poland and Germany. It is one night of the year when you think Southend Council would relax the rules a bit.”
The ceremony was attended by Southend mayor Brian Kelly and pop star Sandie Shaw, who received an honorary degree.
Many found it difficult to find a parking space and the council car park next to the venue, which can take up to 126 cars, was packed with vehicles.
Southend Council said people could appeal the fines.
Peter Geraghty, the council’s head of planning and transport, said: “Anyone issued with a penalty charge notice for a parking contravention has the right to challenge it, if they feel there are grounds to do so, by following the standard appeals process which is explained on the back of the notice.”
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