Toastrack in Sidmouth parking dispute

AFTER 97 years with an unblemished record, Sidmouth s famous Toastrack has been hit with a second parking ticket in two weeks.

AFTER 97 years with an unblemished record, Sidmouth's famous Toastrack has been hit with a second parking ticket in two weeks.

Tom Griffiths, co-owner of the restored char-a-banc, had just lodged an appeal over a �70 ticket dished out to the Austin, named Betty, for being parked in an Esplanade coach bay only for it to be slapped with another one on Saturday when parked in the exact same spot.

Betty was again deemed by an East Devon District Council parking enforcement officer to be "in a parking place or area not designed for that class of vehicle", this time for seven minutes.

"Somebody told me I was getting a ticket but I just said 'don't be stupid', I thought it was a joke," said Tom, who is the grandson of the Toastrack's original owner Bill Dagworthy.

"I'd just appealed against the other one and I have actually refrained from parking there now until we can clear this matter up."

Tom said he is confident the Toastrack will be vindicated as its registration documents state it is a historic coach.

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Betty, who started life in 1912, had just "flown through" her MOT earlier this month, only to spring a water leak and then get slapped with her first ever penalty charge notice.

On that ticket, an EDDC spokesman said at the time: "The vehicle's owner has a right to challenge the notice. If he does so, the council will consider the full circumstances put forward by the appellant. Until such time as a challenge has been received, we cannot comment further."

The council was yet to comment on the latest development as the Herald went to press yesterday.

Tom co-owns the Toastrack, which is still hired for weddings and film work, with local businessman Richard Eley.

Its original chassis was requisitioned during the First World War. The coach body was stored and then put onto a 1927 Austin 20.