A DAWLISH councillor and keen sailor has won a lengthy battle against Teignbridge Council to quash a parking ticket.
John Petherick, who is a town and district councillor, received the ticket when he parked his car and trailer in the Polly Steps car park in Teignmouth.
But John, who buys permits annually for both his car and the trailer, was adamant he was not in breach of parking regulations. The ticket had been issued on the basis that John’s trailer was not parked in a designated bay.
Over many months John tried to get Teignbridge Council’s parking bosses to cancel his fine and admit it was issued in error.
While John went through the appeal process, the fine was going up and ultimately he could have been threatened with court action.
He was certain he had not parked incorrectly and uses the car park two or three times a week while taking his boat out.
Continuing to pursue the matter with Teignbridge Council however, he was concerned that the attitude of its officers was ‘unreasonable’ and ‘intransigent’.
John’s case went as far as the Traffic Penalty Tribunal where adjudicator James Richardson found in his favour.
Teignbridge Council was invited to take part but did not attend the video hearing.
After learning he had won his case, John said: ‘It’s been an anxious and frustrating seven months.
‘I found Teignbridge Council’s Parking Services to be completely intransigent.
‘While my appeal and notice of representation were both rejected meanwhile the fine escalated from £35 to £105. It was quite traumatic at times and I found the correspondence quite threatening.
‘I am pleased with the outcome.
‘I challenged the PCN as a member of the public using my private email account.
‘At no time did I use my elected member status to attempt to influence the matter.’
‘This was both frustrating and unjust, it’s been stressful at times and unfortunately impacted on my sleep pattern.
‘I believe Teignbridge Council’s parking services are not prepared to engage or listen to their customers and have a total disregard for the customer experience.’
A spokesman for Torbay Council said: ‘Having received the adjudicator’s decision, we are appealing his ruling and will not make any further comment until that process is complete.’
Mr Petherick responded saying he understood the adjudicator’s decision was final and there is no appeal process.
The council’s case said the trailer was parked in an area restricted to cars which is why the ticket was issued.
The adjudicator said while he could see the words
‘Cars Only”’were marked beside part of the bay in which Mr Petherick parked, he could not see any signage.
His ruling stated: ‘I cannot identify and I am not referred to any specific signed instruction about designated areas.
‘For the council to enforce a condition for parking, the particular restriction must be provided for by its Traffic Order.
‘It is for the council to set out and make its case and in doing so must establish the restriction by indicating the relevant provisions within the Order.
‘The council has not included the relevant Order and has not established in evidence the specific requirements for parking within the bay used.
‘Without first establishing the restriction that applies, it cannot in turn demonstrate there was a contravention of it.
‘The council has therefore failed to prove there was a contravention.’