THIS ISLAND LIFE
PHILIP Kennerley was an obdurate so-and-so when he opened the batting for Arreton and I opened the bowling for Havenstreet 40 years ago.
He dug in and didn’t give an inch when the battle was at its most intense — and little appears to have changed.
His latest opponents are the parking authorities at the lW Council and, in a long and attritional encounter, he ground them down with a broad bat before finishing them off with a sumptuous swipe to the boundary.
In typical Kennerley fashion, he refused to leave the crease until the result was beyond doubt — and his victory could have interesting repercussions for many others.
It all began when his wife, Gill, parked at The Heights car park, Sandown, which offers free parking for the first two hours.
Realising she would be there for well under the allotted time, she duly left her car and returned 70 minutes later to find a £25 penalty notice attached to her windscreen.
She had not noticed the requirement to get a 'free ticket’ from the machine, something which regular users of the car park (which Gill was not) do as a matter of course.
Phil thought the signs were ambiguous and unsatisfactory and argued as much in his appeal against the fine.
But he reckons it was the surprising facts he unearthed during the disagreement which caused the council to back down for fear of them becoming public knowledge.
Phil told me: "I discovered under a Freedom of Information request that The Heights car park raked in £24,792 in the past 12 months from motorists who, like my wife, misunderstood or did not notice the requirement to obtain a ticket, even when parking for 'free’.
"This compared to just £3,979 collected over the same period from people who paid to park there for more than two hours.
"Yet officials still refuse to accept their signs are misleading or contradictory, which must mean in the past 12 months alone they deem almost 1,000 people to be so stupid they knowingly risked a £25 fine rather than placed a free ticket on their windscreen.
"The parking authorities presumably wish to leave the signs as they are, so they can collect another £25,000 in fines this year — despite clear evidence they are being misunderstood by members of the public.
"I suspect they didn’t want to risk the Traffic Penalty Tribunal finding against them, because this could lead to their having to refund fines paid by similar 'offenders’ in the past."
But has a refund precedent now been set, I wonder?
The history of God’s Own Acre is about to appear
A couple of years ago, I announced my intention to write a book about the history of Havenstreet.
Those with suitable material (photographs and the like) were invited to attend a meeting at the village community centre in order that resources could be pooled.
Since then, silence. Other writing commitments got in the way and it wasn’t long before people were muttering: "What’s he done with all our pictures then? Flogged ’em off on Ebay, I shouldn’t be surprised."
Well, I’m pleased to say God’s Own Acre: The History of Havenstreet and Ashey is poised to be published — and everyone’s photos are present and accounted for.
In fact, they can be collected at the White Hart Inn in the village next Saturday, March 22, where a coffee morning is being held to raise funds to cover the cost of printing the book.
It will take place for a couple of hours from 10.30am, courtesy of owners John and Anne-Marie Deegan, and tickets are £5 a head for coffee, tea, sausage roll, etc.
Not only that, we will be auctioning two tickets for this year’s Bestival, which were kindly donated by Rob da Bank and have a face value of £195 each.
Anyone wishing to leave a sealed bid for the tickets can e-mail my co-author, Angela Snow, at email@example.com or ring her on 563178.
The funds are needed because all the profits from the book will be going to St Peter’s Church, Havenstreet, so the more we raise in advance, the more the church will receive in the long run.
FH Winter and Sons has generously provided £500 to sponsor the book and sample pages can be viewed on the day.
But I must emphasise, the book itself will not be available to buy for a week or two.
So, if you fancy a chance to bid for Bestival tickets, and get some idea of what the book will look like, I’ll see you at the White Hart next Saturday morning.