Volunteers get parking fines while feeding homeless

PUBLISHED: 17:00 14 December 2019 | UPDATED: 12:39 15 December 2019

Volunteers in Norwich were given parking fines while they delivered food to the homeless. Picture: Getty images

Volunteers in Norwich were given parking fines while they delivered food to the homeless. Picture: Getty images

© Getty Images

Volunteers have been hit with more than £200 of parking fines while delivering food parcels to the homeless.

Norwich City Centre, The Forum exterior Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMANNorwich City Centre, The Forum exterior Pictures: BRITTANY WOODMAN

The volunteers from Norwich based charity Food and Beverage Buggies (FABB) were on their weekly food drop last Thursday, when a parking attendant from Norwich City Council issued them with tickets for leaving their vehicles outside St Peter Mancroft Church on Millennium Plain.

According to group leader Carol Ann McWhinnie, volunteers had been parking in this spot for almost two years, and believed they had the support of the council to do so.

However the council denied that the group had permission, and has not yet confirmed whether it will pursue the £210 of fines it has issued.

Marie Charles was one of the six volunteers hit with a £35 fine, and said the incident was upsetting.

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She said: "My first reaction was utter fear, because these fines can escalate and we can't afford to pay that. We have never had trouble with the council before so it's incredibly sad that it has come to this. Volunteers put in so many hours to keep the project running and this is the last thing they need, especially this close to Christmas."

Ms McWhinnie will meet with Norwich City Council on Monday, and said she was hopeful a solution could be found to write off the fines, but that if this was not possible that the charity would have to use its funds to cover the cost.

Although currently in discussion with the charity about future parking arrangements, a spokesman for the city council said the group did not currently have permission to leave vehicles in the pedestrianised area.

He added: "As part of our work with various organisations addressing rough sleeping in the city, we've had really positive dealings with FABB. Our approach takes a range of factors into account, including logistical issues, and we're working with the organisers to find a better parking solution."

Long term, Ms Charles said the group hoped to find a permanent free parking spot for its Thursday night drop offs, but that the busy city centre location was likely to make the search harder.

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