It’s my Opinion - A personal view of life by Jack Nixon

PARKING has become a real issue for those of us who have to visit Aberdeen by car, which in my case is as rarely as possible, though there occasions when it’s unavoidable.

Such was the case last week when I happily volunteered to give the wife of a friend a lift to visit her husband in Aberdeen Royal Infirmary.

No big issue there, even if I was more than aware of the horrors of trying to park in the official car park of the hospital. Indeed, it was never my intention to use the facility, as from previous experiences it is nigh on impossible to find a space during afternoon visiting time, or perhaps at anytime for all I know.

Suitably armed with this knowledge I embarked upon the strategy of dropping my friend’s better half at the main entrance of the hospital before heading off to find a space in one of the streets in the area.

Good thinking you might say, but easier said than done, as readers may know that almost every street in the vicinity is designated for residents parking for the hours between 10am and 4pm.

As a consequence I spent a few minutes cruising around trying to find a space to park, but without success, ending up in a street half a mile away from ARI.

The red mist was by this time taking over, ending up with me taking a chance, and leaving the car in a near deserted street before visiting my sick friend. I left the car at exactly 2.40pm, intending to be back before 3.30pm which I was only to find I had picked up a parking ticket.

Okay I accepted my act of folly and was prepared to pay the penalty until I saw the details printed on the ticket.

Apparently the car had been “spotted” at 2.42pm, a mere two minutes after I had left it, though it was not actually booked until some 15 minutes later.

In other words the warden had watched me park from some point in the street before sneaking out to slap on a ticket.

Easy money and clearly a strategy supported by Aberdeen City Council in its desperation to raise cash to renovate Union Terrace Gardens, or whatever.

I should have known better, but what about those long suffering country folk who make long journeys, stressed by the fact of having a sick relative to visit, but further put upon by not finding a place to park.

Has the system no compassion? Clearly not.

The issue will not be resolved overnight, but it is known to the powers that be who seem unwilling to take aboard, but will continue to cash in on poor motorists like myself.

Such is my strength of feeling on the issue that I shall appeal my fine, but with little hope of a satisfactory outcome.

Raising the problem may, just may, however, draw some attention to a real issue, involving in many cases older people who may just give up on hospital visits, which would be a shameful situation.

Finally for those of you who live in St Mary’s Drive in Ellon I note your own parking problems are coming to an end after three months of pavement repairs. Why so long?

Don’t ask me, but those councillors who will be up for re - election in May.