| 07.02,19. 08:35 AM |
Parking fines issued by the hundreds on residential streets by NSW Police forces backflip
Photo: Residents claimed they were unfairly nabbed for parking outside their homes. (Supplied: Liesl Tesch)
A backflip by New South Wales Police has seen hundreds of parking fines withdrawn on the Central Coast.
The reversal follows an outcry by hundreds of angry locals from Woy Woy and Umina who claimed they were unfairly penalised for parking outside their own homes.
It is understood about a dozen streets on the Peninsula were targeted in the blitz by a lone police highway patrol officer on January 21.
Locals defended their actions, arguing many of the residential streets in the area were narrow, with no kerb or guttering, which left little safe parking space for vehicles.
Hundreds of penalty notices were issued to those who parked on footpaths in built-up areas.
But residents argued there was nowhere else to park.
So incensed, they took the fight to their State Member for Gosford Liesl Tesch.
Ms Tesch said her office was inundated by more than 200 complaints about the $263 fines in less than 48 hours.
She vowed to challenge the hefty penalties on behalf of her constituents, describing them as "unfair".
The MP contacted both the Police and Finance Ministers over the matter, and called for the fines to be waived.
In a statement, NSW Police confirmed on Wednesday that all the fines would be withdrawn.
"The NSW Police Force acknowledges the issuing of fines for parking-related offences on the Central Coast in recent weeks is not in the public interest," the statement said.
"Whilst various offences have been committed, the NSW Police Force has identified road engineering concerns and will work with council and local stakeholders to find a solution.
"Local police and traffic and highway patrol officers will exercise discretion whilst a design solution is considered."
Other residents who received fines on December 28 and 31 around Saratoga and West Gosford will also not be required to pay up.
'Common sense prevails'
Woy Woy resident Iain Russell said it was a victory for common sense.
"They've realised the fines were excessive and over the top and it was probably done the wrong way," he said.
"I think what people are asking themselves is why were the fines issued in the first place in such a way?" Mr Russell said.
"What are the laws and where can we park?
"And can we be sure we're not going to get another fine in the future?
"Politicians and the lawmakers have understood that they've crossed a line and that people are very upset."
Local police have copped flak from furious residents over the fines.
But Iain Russell has defended them.
"On the day I got the fine I went down to the local police station and the local coppers were desperately upset that someone from out of the area had gone and done this and started to propagate this mistrust of the police force," Mr Russell said.
"The local cops, who do a terrific job, were upset and they really didn't know what to say or do.
"They were actually apologetic.
"We have to be careful we don't take it out on the wrong people."
Despite the parking furore, Mr Russell and his neighbours have vowed against changing their parking habits.
"I could walk out onto my street now and there would literally be hundreds of people parked considerately and away from the road but technically they could be breaking the law," he said.
"I think people have seen this as hopefully a one-off anomaly, and hopefully common sense will prevail.
"[But] I would absolutely say it's a win for people power."
But he warned questions still needed to be answered.