In a striking case where a woman's flooded car gets parking ticket, a family-owned furniture business in Bognor Regis, West Sussex, grappled with the aftermath of a natural disaster. The director of the business was astonished to find that, amidst the chaos caused by severe flooding, a traffic warden had issued a parking ticket to their van, even though the vehicle was submerged under two feet of flood water.
Reynolds Furniture, the business in question, faced an extraordinary situation earlier this month when its warehouse, located near the Ferring Rife stream, was almost completely flooded. The flooding was so severe that it burst the stream's banks and inundated the warehouse. In an attempt to prevent further damage, a company van was parked on the pavement outside the inundated premises. However, the floodwater continued to rise, eventually submerging the van.
This unfortunate situation took an even more surprising turn when a traffic warden decided to issue a parking ticket to the submerged van, citing it for being double-parked on two yellow lines. Freya Reynolds, the 31-year-old director of Reynolds Furniture, who has been working at the warehouse for 15 years, expressed her shock at the incident. "It was an unprecedented situation, and we didn't have anywhere else to put it," she said.
Freya Reynolds further explained the dilemma they faced due to the flooding. "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," she said. She also pointed out that the entire road and a nearby gym were submerged, rendering the road unusable, which led her to believe parking there wouldn't be problematic.
The newsof the ticket was conveyed to Freya via a text message from the warehouse manager, leaving her astounded. "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," she remarked. Letter of rejection received
Freya also expressed her thoughts on the parking warden's decision to issue the ticket. "I wonder whether [the parking warden] wanted to have a look at the flooding themselves given everything was closed off and shut around there," she mused. "It's the last thing you want after a stressful week."
In her appeal against the ticket, Freya emphasized the unfairness of the situation and hoped for a sympathetic understanding from the council. "Even their own council building up the road was flooded, so you'd think they'd have some empathy for the situation," she added.
Responding to the incident, a spokesperson for the Arun District Council acknowledged the extreme conditions caused by the flooding. "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," they stated. The spokesperson also warned that future parking violations, irrespective of circumstances, could result in penalties.
This unusual incident has drawn significant attention, highlighting the challenges businesses face in the wake of natural disasters and the varied responses of local authorities to such unprecedented situations. Arun District Council has not yet made additional comments on the matter.