A PARKING “debacle” saw confused motorists slapped with fines for parking on a road where restrictions had been put in place to allow for utility upgrade works - despite the fact the work had been completed.
Crews began work to upgrade the infrastructure on Elm Road in Leigh on Monday, January 23.
To facilitate the works to lay high-speed internet cables - part of the £50 million City Fibre project to bring "gigafast broadband" services to the city - parking restrictions were put in place until Saturday, February 4.
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Work crews finished well in advance of that deadline and packed up on Friday, January 27.
However, the message was not passed along to Southend Council whose parking wardens issued a total of 35 fines from January 28 - 30.
The fines have since been rescinded by the council.
Leigh ward councillor Carole Mulroney described the incident as a “debacle” before adding it was “now sorted” in a statment published on Facebook.
“There was a mix up in dates supplied to the council by the utility provider,” the councillor responsible for environment, culture and tourism, said.
“Their works were completed in advance of the date provided and so the parking suspension period was in excess of their requirements; hence the conflict and issuance of PCN’s.
“The suspension boards have been removed and parking is available as normal.”
She added: “The matter is being taken up with the provider.”
CityFibre was contacted for comment.
Leigh ward councillor Ashley Thompson says the council jumped into action to resolve the mistake as soon as possible.
The Liberal Democrat said: “Councillor Carole Mulroney was very quick to respond to residents complaints that there were issues with parking fines on the road and all of the fines that were given out incorrectly will be reversed.
“It was unfortunate that this happened, and we are sorry for any distress it may have caused but we have dealt with it very quickly.”
He added: “CityFibre operate separately to us, and while we understand they are improving infrastructure across Southend, from time to time communication between the two parties could be slightly better.”
Councillor Steven Wakefield, responsible for highways, transport and parking, said: “We can confirm that there was a conflict of dates caused by City Fibre works over the weekend at Elm Road and consequently a number of Penalty Charge Notices were issued at this location.
“The council are reviewing all of these penalty charge notices issued at this location in Elm Road and will be cancelling them.
“Any other Penalty Charge Notices that have been issued, will have to follow the normal statutory appeals process.”
Jean Gowin, CityFibre’s area manager for Southend-, said: “We completed the roll out of our full fibre network in Elm Road on 27th January as part of our £50m investment to upgrade the city’s digital infrastructure.
"Due to an administrative error, parking bays on the road were suspended for longer than necessary resulting in a number of residents mistakenly receiving a parking ticket on 28th, 29th and 30th January.
"We would like to apologise for this and reassure residents we are working closely with Southend City Council to find a resolution as soon as possible for any residents who mistakenly received a parking ticket.”