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UNSUSPECTING drivers caught out by new restrictions told of their frustration after more than 60 fines were handed out.

Ness Road, in Shoebury, has been allocated for disabled and coach parking by Southend Council to accommodate visitors arriving to see the Poppy Wave sculpture at Barge Pier.

However, residents who regularly parked in Ness Road before the sculpture was installed said they were unaware of new restrictions. Small notices at either end of the street have been put up by the council to publicise the changes.

Southend Council has handed out 69 fixed penalty notices since car parking was banned on Tuesday, April 11.

Rosemary Dedenam, of Havenside, Great Wakering, was fined after parking on Ness Road on Bank Holiday Monday.

The 66-year-old said: “I had my sister visiting from Canada and we thought we would go see the poppies.

“I went to park where I always park and didn’t think anything of it. I came back to see that I had got a parking ticket.

“It was so frustrating and it really put a dampener on the day. The signs they have put up are A5 size and I had to squint to read them.

“It doesn’t make sense because for the Shakedown they had huge highlighted notices informing people not to park on the seafront, but for this the notices are practically invisible.

“It feels opportunistic and makes us think they have just done it for the money.

“The poppies are there until mid June. At £35 a pop, they could make quite a bit of money from people who are oblivious.”

Mrs Dedenam has vowed to appeal her fine - which will double to £70 if it is not paid within 14 days.

A 45-year-old Shoebury resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I saw about 20 to 30 cars all with tickets when I returned to my car.

“There needs to be better signage and I think maybe this disabled parking is in the wrong place because it isn’t even that close to the pier.”

A Southend Council spokesman said: “We reviewed the parking arrangements on Ness Road in anticipation of coaches needing to drop off visitors close the sculpture and also the need to create a disabled drop-off point. We have had six signs in the area notifying motorists of the parking arrangements since March 22.

“These measures are creating the required capacity and fixed penalty notices have been served on vehicles parked in contravention of the restrictions. We have a fair and rigorous appeals process for anyone who believes they have been unfairly fined.”