Dad fined £65 because shadow of his car was in disabled spot

A man was slapped with a £65 fine because his car’s shadow was in a disabled parking spot. Matthew Cole received the ticket after leaving his vehicle outside Blackheath Post Office in Lewisham in March.

Mr Cole, a self-employed gardener, said he was “gobsmacked” when he opened a letter in April alleging he had parked illegally. But photos sent to him by Lewisham Council show his silver Ford estate car parked in an unmarked bay next to a signposted disabled spot.

Only the shadow of his vehicle appears to be in the marked disabled bay. Mr Cole said: “It’s absurd. There’s no signage where I parked and the photos they sent me only show the shadow of my car in the disabled spot.

I was taking my daughter to a football match on the heath and had parked there before without problem. Having not got a ticket at the other times, I personally don’t think I should have got a ticket this time.

Matthew Cole says his car's shadow was in the disabled parking bay

“It’s completely wrong. They’re enforcing something that’s not there. I think £65 is not a lot to many people today but the principle is wrong. If you don’t pay the fine in a certain time it doubles to £130 which is a lot.”

After receiving the penalty charge notice, Mr Cole appealed the fine, saying there was no disabled parking sign next to the bay where he was parked. Lewisham Council rejected his complaint and stuck to its claim that he parked in a spot reserved for disabled badge holders.

But Mr Cole remains determined not to pay the fine and has lodged a second complaint against the fine. He said: “They sent me an email to dispute it and I disputed it but they seemed to just ignore what I said and said it was issued correctly. They’re so hard to get hold of. I think it’s done to force you to pay.

“I’ve parked in that same spot at least three other times for five to eight hours each time and had no problem. I don’t see why it was a problem this time.”

A Lewisham Council spokesperson said: “We issued a Penalty Charge Notice [PCN] to Mr Cole on 26 March for parking in a disabled bay, which was marked with a ‘Disabled badge holders only’ sign. Mr Cole’s initial challenge of this PCN was rejected as he didn’t give a reason for challenging it.

He has since outlined reasons for challenging the fine, which we are looking into in line with legal processes. We will be letting Mr Cole know the outcome in due course.”

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