A Community Network for Bowes Park and Bounds Green
I received a fine for parking my car in a disabled parking bay. The only problem was that when I parked my car there, the disabled parking bay didn’t exist . . .
I had parked my car on the evening of Sunday the 29th July. Two days later on the Tuesday morning, I was working and could hear a noise coming from outside. I looked out of my window and noticed a tow truck in the middle of the street holding up a queue of traffic. I almost did a double take when I realized that the tow truck was about to tow MY car.
‘****!’ I yelled to no-one in particular. The window was shut and no-one could hear a darn thing.
I dashed out of the flat and managed to stop them before the claws grabbed the car. The man from the tow-truck company was very nice and let me move my car, but did add that I still had to pay the parking fine, which he pointed at on my windscreen. Erm, thanks.
I rang Haringey council as soon as they opened and managed to get straight through to the right department and woman as it turned out. I asked in a very calm manner,
‘A disabled parking bay has appeared on Palmerston Road and I was just wondering when it had been painted?’
The woman didn’t even have to stop to check, she knew instantly. ‘Yesterday,’ she replied.
‘Can you just double check that for me please?’ I asked.
‘Yes, definitely yesterday’.
‘Interesting, because I parked my car there on Sunday night. There was nothing preventing me from parking there, no sign, no cones and this morning I got a fine and my car nearly got towed,’ I explained.
To be fair to her, she was VERY embarrassed and did say that I should contest the fine and that I could give them her name and that she would clear it. A refreshingly helpful response. Thank you.
However, there are a few issues here. Someone employed by the council came on that Monday and knowingly painted a Disabled Parking Bay AROUND my car and then didn’t communicate this back to the council, who then could have notified me. I mean, surely through vehicle registration this would not have been difficult?
Palmerston Road is very densely populated and often I have to park my car way down the street from where I live. I don’t drive every day and I’m not going to start checking my car daily to see if they’ve painted a disabled parking bay around it. The outcome would have been completely different had I been on holiday, which brings me on to my next point.
Should Haringey Council have notified local residents in advance that a bay would be painted? I don’t remember seeing any signs or getting anything in the post. Note to Haringey council – YOU NEED TO GIVE PEOPLE FAIR WARNING! Sorry, didn’t mean to shout.
Thirdly, there was nothing preventing me from parking there in the first place. Possibly up to the people who asked for the bay, but nevertheless, cones could have been put up with signs explaining what was going to happen.
One could say that this was an unfortunate series of events, although I would argue it was more like a series of unfortunate cock-ups. A result of bad communication between the council and residents and some over enthusiastic jobs-worth traffic wardens. They were out bright and early that Tuesday morning. I was fined at 7.27am!
This would all be fine if the story ended here. However, there really is a twist in the tail. Last Friday morning I was working and heard a noise coming from outside. As I looked out the window, there was the tow truck again.
This time my car was safe, but unfortunately the red car in the disabled parking bay wasn’t. I dashed downstairs and ran towards the tow truck men.
‘STOP! That car is owned by the disabled guy who asked for the bay!’ I yelled.
Mr Tow-Truck Man just looked at me and said, ‘Well there wasn’t any sign in the window and anyway it’s too late, the car’s on the truck.’
‘What do you mean it’s too late? Just park up whilst I knock on!’ I rang the door bell of the flat and obviously the guy wasn’t too speedy to answer and by the time he did open the door, the only view he did get was the back of the tow-truck as it sped off down the road with his car on it. I couldn’t believe it! Couldn’t believe that Mr Tow-Truck Man could be so unreasonable and jobs-worthy! But this gets better.
Later that morning, I noticed that the car had arrived back in it’s bay. I knocked to check on my neighbour, who then told me that they did bring it back, but he had to pay 250 quid to get it out of the compound. It appeared that his disabled badge had fallen on the floor and wasn’t visible. However, Mr/Mrs Jobsworths in the compound, did you really have to fine the man to let him get his car back when it was clear he was the disabled car owner? Do you really love your bureaucratic form-filling nonsense that much?
Now, like me, my neighbour is going to have to waste loads of time composing a boring letter to the parking fine people hoping that they’ll see sense and give him a refund. I was lucky. I had a nice Mr. Tow-Truck Man and dealt with someone with common sense at the council, although a bit of warning about the forthcoming disabled bay and preventative parking measures wouldn’t have gone amiss. However, in my neighbour’s case, why didn’t Mr. Tow-Truck Man and the people at the compound show some human kindness, patience and common sense? You know who you are and you should be ashamed, so I’ll leave that for them to answer.
*** At the time of writing, I still haven’t received official confirmation that I don’t have to pay my parking fine. ***
Awful story but, nothing surprises me. Councils seem more than able to put up signs and cones in the streets when they're doing some tree pruning but, that's not going to make them any money, is it? Better not to inform you of the bay-painting and try and make a few quid. Hope your neighbour gets his money back. There's no room for manoeuvre, is there? Rules are rules and that's that.
They painted a disabled bay *around* your car?! Good grief.