A Lancaster man claims the county council has “gone behind closed doors” to get the result it wanted following a two-year battle over a parking ticket.
Alex Roberts has been fighting the fine issued to his partner, a community mental health nurse, who received a £75 ticket in September 2013 after being delayed in a critical end of life care meeting at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary.
Mr Roberts, of Chequers Avenue, appealed, and a lengthy battle with Lancashire County Council ensued, resulting this month in a bailiff’s letter for full payment plus costs.
A spokesman for the county council said the original penalty charge had been upheld by an independent adjudicator, and that the system would break down if people refused to pay because they did not accept the decisions.
He added: “The limited waiting bays provide short-term parking and we enforce them to deter people from overstaying and depriving others, who may have equally urgent business in the hospital, of the opportunity to park. In this case the penalty charge was upheld by an independent adjudicator and the appeal was dismissed; a decision that is legally binding on both parties.
“We have a duty to be fair to all motorists to take steps to recover money owed to the council.”
But Mr Roberts said the statement regarding depriving others of parking was ridiculous. He said: “It’s an attempt to justify not accepting that (my partner) was correct in continuing to deliver care to a family in critical need of support and end of life care planning instead of abandoning her duty to move her car.
“I also take exception to being referred to as refusing to pay money owed to the council. In all my many correspondences, I have never done so.
“All I have done is explain the situation and ask that consideration be given.”
He added: “After the justice system had ordered on my side three times, instead of obeying these orders LCC secretly arranged a private court case behind closed doors using civil procedure rules part 3. Then using the general power of the court to rectify matters where there has been an error of procedure. No enforcement order for unpaid penalty charge has been obtained by LCC from the court. Following this no new request for payment has been made.”
Mr Roberts said that the situation had been a waste of resources and money. The county council said the matter was now one of debt recovery.
As soon as this legal loophole had been exploited bailiffs have been ordered to strike . They have done so without an enforcement order from the court and I believe they are acting outside of the law .
The pretense that this is about being fair to other motorists and ‘needy’ parkers is not what this is about. It is about council officials refusing to ever see they have got something wrong and wasting tax payers money and resources to try to prove so. A luxury not afforded to their victims.
Mr Roberts said: “
and has even received confirmation from the county court in Northamptonshire that the order for the recovery of the fine should be revoked.
But Lancashire County Council has twice re-issued the ticket in what Mr Roberts describes as a “heartless and pointless” act.
Mr Roberts, 51, of Chequers Avenue, said he was glad his partner did not walk out of the meeting, and hoped that she would do the same thing again as a member of the caring profession.