TOWN centre residents have been caught out by changes to car parking time restrictions.

Trish Hannant lives above her hairdressing business in Hexham’s Market Street and was outraged when she discovered penalty fine notices plastered over her and two neighbours’ cars which had been parked overnight in the nearby Gilesgate car park.

There had been no time restriction at the car park until December when a 24-hour maximum stay was imposed. However, Trish claimed Northumberland County Council had not informed local people and had appealed the fine.

She said: “Apparently, warning notices were given to cars contravening the rules, but I never got one, neither did my neighbours.

“If I knew about the restrictions, I wouldn’t have parked there. I’m not to blame, and I would willingly pay the fine if I though I did something wrong.”

A spokesman for the county council said the parking restrictions were part of a £10m investment countywide and were introduced to stop people ‘garaging’ their vehicles in spaces for days and weeks on end.

Trish’s penalty comes as Northumberland County Council is preparing to make further changes to parking restrictions across Tynedale.

In Haltwhistle, it is planning to introduce time-limited parking for two hours with no return in three hours in areas which currently have one hour parking restrictions on Westgate and Main Street.

Changes are also being proposed in Hexham, with the addition of two-hour time limited parking in two areas on St Mary’s Wynd. The council is also planning to introduce a two-hour disabled bay outside the Queen’s Hall in Hexham, with Prudhoe also receiving a disabled bay on a side street off Front Street, next to the Co-op Funeralcare.