Town hall coffers received a cash boost from parking in 2013/14 after amassing £11.47 million through on-street, permit and penalty charges over the financial year. The figure, after costs, increased from £10.94 million in 2012/13 and £7.39 million in 2009/10.

More than £3.6 million of last year’s parking kitty was raised through the issue of 117,772 penalty charge notices (PCNs) to rule-flouting motorists in the city.

The number of PCNs issued increased from 114,332 in 2012/13 and is the highest figure since 2008/2009, when nearly 130,000 fines were dished out.

Brighton and Hove City Council says all money raised from on-street parking charges – including PCNs – is pumped back into transport projects like concessionary bus fares for the elderly and installing new cycle lanes.

But motoring campaigners say car and vehicle owners rarely reap the rewards of transport investment as most of the cash is spent on cycling and bus projects.

Steve Percy, of the People’s Parking Protest, said: “It’s also been said that the council used transport money for a project where they planted lots of new trees around roads leading into the city in a bid to welcome motorists to Brighton and Hove. They were supposed to make the motorist feel better – and it came from the transport pot. My gripe is that it’s the motorists that raise the majority of the transport pot but get nothing back in return apart from increased parking zones. The bus company, which is a private limited company with shareholders, gets millions on bus lanes and whatever else from the council. It’s a nice set-up they’ve got.”

Commenting on the rise in the number of PCNs issued last year, Mr Percy said: “In all honesty, it’s a surprise because the number of visible CEOs (Civil Enforcement Officers) handing out tickets has gone down. I never see a traffic warden handing out tickets to motorists who have illegally stopped and parked in a road somewhere, especially in the evening.

“My only explanation for the increase is that more tickets are being issued through the guys in camera cars. Because really, as each year goes by, I would think motorists would become more streetwise regarding tickets in Brighton and not put themselves in positions where they’re likely to receive them.”

Motorists tell of their ‘nightmare’ going through the appeal process

Despite the rise in the number of PCNs issued, less than 15% of motorists fined were successful in the official appeals process.

One such woman is 65-year-old Rottingdean resident Jill Bowles, who urged the council to let her off a £35 parking fine after the wind blew her pay-and-display ticket off her dashboard.

She said: “I’d parked in Whitecross Street, near Brighton Station, and bought a pay-and-display ticket from the machine. I put it on my dashboard but when I came back to the car I realised the ticket had blown half-way down the front of my dash as I closed the door.

“The traffic warden took a picture of the car and half the ticket and slapped me with a fine. I wrote to the council within a few days and never heard anything back until this week, where they’ve rejected my appeal and doubled the ticket to £70.

“I got the ticket in May so why they’ve taken five months to get back to me and doubled the fine in the meantime I don’t know?”

Brighton and Hove City Council said: “When a PCN is first appealed, it is held at the discounted rate until it has been dealt with by an officer. Having been rejected, this PCN remains within its discounted period and will do so until at least the end of this month.

“Our current backlog is approximately eight weeks, although there are a few older cases which are also being responded to now. If the ticket remains unpaid beyond the end of the 14-day discounted period, a Notice to Owner will be issued allowing them to activate the next stage in the appeals process.”

Council parking bosses also received an appeal from Meals on Wheels volunteer Paul Thompson, 69, who was given a £35 fine while dropping off food for an elderly customer. Mr Thompson wrote to the council and apologised for parking in a motorcycle bay, claiming he “wasn’t aware” it was an offence. He appealed the ticket but parking officials turned it down in August because he had “technically committed a parking offence”.

Mr Thompson said: “The motorcycle bay seems to be the crux of it. Half the people we deliver to are supported by the council so it’s annoying. This is Cameron’s big society – and they want people my age to get involved.

“Some people can’t get out and about or have mental health problems and they are people who rely quite heavily on Meals on Wheels. But the parking rules have been getting more stringent as the years go by.

“Somewhere along the line there was a bit of bloody-mindedness and I don’t know why. If they did this to the nth degree we wouldn’t be able to deliver.”

Mr Thompson paid the fine, which eventually rose to £70, and was reimbursed by the charity.

Brighton and Hove City Council said: “We are very sympathetic to the circumstances of this case. However, it would not be appropriate for our parking team to make special exceptions for people delivering council services. Our Meals on Wheels commissioning team was not previously aware of this case. The team does not wish to see their volunteer out of pocket for delivering what is a very important service, so they have agreed to cover the cost of his parking ticket as a one-off ex gratia payment.

“We will be reminding our volunteers of the importance of parking in a way that is consistent with local regulations.”

Neither Mr Thompson nor the Royal Voluntary Service, which runs Meals on Wheels, has received reimbursement yet.

The parking appeal team will soon have another appeal case on their hands.

Karen Napleton, 43, of Sandgate Road, Fiveways, Brighton, got three tickets in a week after being forced to double-park in her street because of a lack of spaces.

She told The Argus she would be appealing all three tickets and is prepared to fight them in court.

She said: “It’s now a parking nightmare in Fiveways. It’s a really family orientated area and I’m one of four or five people I know who has to double park because there’s never any space since the residents’ permit zone was introduced in neighbouring roads earlier this year.

“It’s a bit mad really. Some nights I have to park in Patcham if I want to find a space, which in itself is a bit tricky because I don’t want to be walking miles in the dark – especially when I have my two young kids with me.

“I’ve never complained about a council before but I’ve become really livid with the situation. It’s so unreasonable.”

Householders have each forked out £120 for a residents’ parking permit since the council introduced new resident-only parking zones earlier this year.

Officials said locals had been complaining it was difficult to leave their vehicles in streets in the triangle of roads to the west of Fiveways junction. But Mrs Napleton said the introduction of permits had sparked an increase in parking in her own road, which currently does not require resident permits.

She said: “I used to be anti-permits because I think local independent businesses suffer. People can’t just stop and jump out of the car and buy something. After my own situation, I’m beginning to side with them a little bit. I’m not paying the fines. I will go to court and fight it. It’s outrageous. I got two in one night for parking next to a skip because there was literally nowhere else to go.” Council revenue from parking permits rose to £5.72 million last year – up from £5 million in 2012/13 and £3.76 million in 2009/10.