A CATRINE man has blasted the parking fines appeal process in East Ayrshire as being "designed to make you give up".

Paul Cobb made the claims after being handed what he felt was an unjust fine of his own earlier this month.

Mr Cobb had parked his car just off Loudoun Street in Mauchline, though he had not fully entered the car park situated behind The Fairburn on the street.

In doing so, he did not pass the signage further along the car park which clarifies the need to pay if you are leaving your car in the area.

"There is a complete absence of any signage until the far end of the road," he told the Chronicle after being handed a £100 ticket.

Cumnock Chronicle: The frustrations came after he tried to appeal a fine received from near the Loudoun Road car park

"They shouldn't be fining people for parking before they've even reached the sign about it."

Mr Cobb said that while the lack of signage was frustrating, the most infuriating part of all for Mr Cobb was the process of appealing this fine.

He explained: "Everything in the appeal process seems to be aimed at making it as difficult as possible for the appellant.

Cumnock Chronicle: The frustrations came after he tried to appeal a fine received from near the Loudoun Road car park

"To begin with, in the early stage of the process, in selecting grounds for appeal, there is no option for lack of signage or unclear signage, which is my grounds for appeal.

" I had to select 'other'.

"I had prepared what I wanted to say in my defence, and my evidence, then followed the links to the webform on Ayrshire Roads Alliance website. 

"I tried to paste my statement into the box but only about a quarter of it went in. It turns out there is a limit of 1000 characters, which is only a few lines of text."

Mr Cobb added that he then tried to add his defence as an attachment, but was unable to do so as only PDF files and images are accepted - not text documents.

He continued: "I was therefore prevented from submitting my full appeal and defending myself as I had intended. 

"I had to give up, write a much shortened version of my submission, then return to the web form to try again."

But Mr Cobb's frustrations did not end there, as he encountered further problems submitting photographic evidence.

He added: "I found it will only accept a maximum of three files, so I had to give up again and decide which three photos were the most important. 

"Again I was prevented from submitting my full evidence to support my appeal.

"Having decided which three photos to include, the web form then rejected them because they were too big. 

"I had to give up yet again, and try to find a way to resize my photos at a lower resolution to make them small enough that the web form would accept them."

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The whole experience led Mr Cobb to question the design of the appeals process.

He said: "The web form is far too rigid and restrictive. Every step is an obstacle to the appellant. 

"Many appellants would not even have the technological know-how to reduce the file size of a photo. 

"It seems designed to bludgeon appellants into giving up and paying the fine.

"It is not just, and it needs to be changed."

The Ayrshire Roads Alliance says the process is designed to "streamline" the appeals process and that all limitations are clearly indicated.

However, they said Mr Cobb's feedback would be taken into account.

A spokesperson said: "The Ayrshire Roads Alliance can confirm that the system has been designed to streamline the appeals process.

"It also allows appellants to view their case details, including any photographs taken by the parking attendant.

"There is an extensive list of options available to select for appeals, but the list cannot cover every eventuality, which is why there is an 'any other reason' option.

"As with most web based forms, there is a limit to the amount of text or data they can handle, and the fact that the text boxes are limited to 1000 characters is clearly indicated.

"Similarly, it is clearly indicated that file sizes for supporting documents are limited to 5MB.

"The Alliance has sought feedback from users previously and will fully consider the comments made by the appellant."