Worthing restaurant owner films parking ‘harassment’

La Difference owner Henri Hourquet wearing his bowler hat with camera on top.''W06301P11
La Difference owner Henri Hourquet wearing his bowler hat with camera on top.''W06301P11
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RESTAURANT owner Henri Hourquet has fixed a video camera to his bowler hat in a bid to thwart traffic wardens who are allegedly “harassing” him.

In a scene straight out of a Monty Python sketch, Mr Hourquet, 60, of La Difference, Crescent Road, Worthing, decided to film his movements after claiming he was being driven to the brink of closing the business, which he founded in 1979.

He said he was forever fending off fines while unloading food and wine.

There were loading bays in Crescent Road, but Mr Hourquet said he was not allowed to use them because he drove a Peugeot Partner Combi multi-purpose vehicle, which wardens regarded as a private vehicle, rather than an HGV.

Park elsewhere

With wardens refusing to believe he was unloading, he fixed the camera to his hat so there was filmed evidence if he got a ticket.

Borough council parking managers said they had tried to help Henri, but he failed to follow their advice and had not turned up for a meeting.

They said Mr Hourquet could park on double yellow lines opposite his restaurant, or in pay and display/permit bays, so long as an enforcement officer witnessed him loading/unloading.

Mr Hourquet claimed business had slumped by 70 per cent because of the wardens, resulting in him laying off four of his 13 part-time staff.

Prepared to close

He said: “It makes my blood boil, and people wonder why the town is dead. I am prepared to shut the restaurant.

“Now, if I get a ticket, the camera will prove I am loading or unloading.”

Mandy Ainsworth, the council’s parking manager said: “The parking team has spent several hours on the phone to Mr Hourquet to explain there are places where he can load and unload, but he doesn’t follow it.

“We are very happy to help him further but, sadly, the one time we arranged to meet him there, he didn’t come along.”

Mr Hourquet urged the Town Centre Initiative to send out a questionnaire to traders seeking their views on parking.