‘I’LL NOT PAY UP’: Donkey drama as owner vows to fight parking fine

A donkey owner slapped with a £75 fine in a bust-up over water today told parking bosses: “You can stick your ticket.”

Thursday, 20th August 2015, 8:21 am
Eileen Nicholls and David Simmons run Donkey Rides on the Sands at Blackpool Beach

David Simmons, 61, who has a herd of seven donkeys on the beach, was left stunned when he was hit with the fine for parking a horsebox on the Prom headlands.

Mr Simmons was using the horsebox to transport bucketsful of water to the beach to help quench the thirst of his four-legged pals during the recent warm weather.

But when he refused to move the vehicle, a parking attendant issued him with a £75 fine.

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Eileen Nicholls and David Simmons run Donkey Rides on the Sands at Blackpool Beach

Mr Simmons, who has worked Blackpool’s golden sands all his life, said he will remain as stubborn as one of his mules.

He said: “I am not going to pay it, no way. I just wanted to provide water for my donkeys the simplest way possible but they won’t listen.”

Mr Simmons has seven donkeys - Warrior, Cherokee, Moses, Bluey, Cochise, Hawk and Cheyenne - which are all named after native Americans, and operate on the beach between Central and North piers close to the lifeboat station.

He says he could carry bottles of water by hand from the Prom to the beach to provide a drink for his donkeys but said parking the horsebox as close to the sands as possible made more sense.

He said: “There used to be a tap we could use to fill buckets up, but when they re-did the Prom the council didn’t reinstate it.

“There is no other supply and I need several bucketfulls for them throughout the day so bringing the horsebox down is the obvious thing to do.

“In the past when I have parked it there they have asked me to move it and I have done.

“But I’m not anymore. The attendant told me to move it and I refused, so he gave me a ticket, but I’m not paying it.

“I don’t think I am in the wrong and there’s no sign saying ‘No Parking’.

“The donkeys are good in the warm weather but one or two of them need a proper drink during the day. I’ve always fetched water down with me but all they need to do is put the tap back.

“I pay more than £200 a year for a permit and when I asked them to reinstate the tap they said it was not the council’s responsibility.

“I’ve worked this beach a long time and the donkeys are part of Blackpool. I think it’s a poor do.”

Coun Christine Wright, Cabinet member with responsibility for parking, said: “Parking on the west side of some areas of the Promenade is prohibited, with very few exceptions, for good reason – it can be hazardous in a pedestrian area.

“Mr Simmons - and all of the other donkey operators who do abide by the law - are well aware of these restrictions.

“With regards to ensuring donkeys are suitably watered; again every other operator appears able to do so without a problem.”