A dad is vowing to take parking enforcers to court after being slapped with a £95 fine for placing his parking ticket on his windscreen upside down.
Sam Spiller is refusing to pay a £95 parking fine he got after a trip to Bradgate Park with his young son.
The 34-year-old teacher from Loughborough claims he got the fine after mistakenly putting his parking ticket the wrong way round on his windscreen during a day out at the park.
He said he will go to court rather than pay the fine.
“I am furious about this,” said Mr Spiller. “I have been to Bradgate Park lots of times and never had a problem like this.
“I went there to enjoy the beauty of the park and to share it with my young son and the day was ruined.
“We had a lovely time then I got back to my car and I saw the parking fine attached to my windscreen.
“It made my heart sink.”
Mr Spiller said he took his six-year-old son for a runabout at the park on January 19 and left his vehicle in the main car park at Newtown Linford.
“I was not too upset as I realised I had stupidly attached the parking ticket to the windscreen but put it the wrong way round,” he said.
“The information about how much I had paid and how long I was allowed to park there were facing inwards.
“The ticket had a serial number on so I was sure the fine would be cancelled once my silly mistake was realised and once they realised I had paid and used the car park properly.”
Mr Spiller appealed against the fine to Spring Parking, who monitor the car park on behalf of Bradgate Park.
When they refused his appeal he went to the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) – an independent service administered by the ombudsman services.
They also rejected his appeal and upheld the fine.
“I am told that if I don’t pay the £95 I will be taken to court,” said Mr Spiller. “I am so angry about this that they can do that.
“What is my crime? To put a parking ticket in my car the wrong way round?
“If this is how people are treated when they pay to park at Bradgate Park then I won’t be going back.”
A Bradgate Park spokeswoman said: “An external company – Spring Parking – have been contracted for monitoring and enforcement of the five Bradgate Park Trust pay and display car parks for a number of years and the Trust are not involved in the appeals process.
“Officers at the Trust have confirmed there is signage in place warning that “Failure to display a valid payment at any time will
result in the vehicle being issued with a parking charge notice”.
An incorrect number or upside down ticket (so it cannot be read) would result in a parking charge notice.
“Whilst noting the above we have recently introduced tickets with adhesive to reduce the chance of tickets being displayed incorrectly and we have clear guidance on machines around pay and display input.
“This is proving helpful we believe to customers and of course the operatives patrolling our sites, whilst always accepting the onus has to be on the vehicle owner to ensure the correct display of a ticket to enable the operative to confirm, on inspection, that a valid ticket is being used. This is the same for any pay or display parking area in the county.
“Spring Parking offer an appeals process, early payment options and there are further channels with POPLA.”
Steve Palethorpe, interim director at the Bradgate Park Trust, said: “As the new Trust Director, I am working with the chairman who has instigated a review of car parking and as part of this any future parking enforcement.
“We are considering all feedback from recent years and have worked hard to address concerns, resulting in some of the changes outlined.”
A spokesman for Spring Parking said: “When Spring Parking rejected the appeal, the discounted amount of £55.00 was offered.
"The driver chose to take it further and appealed it with POPLA, the independent appeals service.
“POPLA rejected the appeal, and the PCN still stands as there are clear warning signs on-site with the terms and condition for parking.”
A POPLA spokesperson said: “I am satisfied that the operator has provided sufficient warning regarding the display of the ticket in line with the terms and conditions.
“It is the responsibility of the motorist to make sure they are aware of the terms and conditions before deciding to remain.
“As they have not displayed a valid pay and display ticket the PCN has been issued.
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“As such, I conclude that the PCN has been issued correctly.
"Accordingly, I must refuse this appeal.”
Bradgate Park has now been closed to visitors amid the coronavirus crisis.
The historic park was inundated with visitors on Saturday, according to the trust which runs it, as people sought relief from self-isolation and to get some fresh air with their families.
The park has been closed to help people follow social distancing advice.
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