Hackney Council apologises for Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve parking ticket blunder
PUBLISHED: 13:31 15 January 2019 | UPDATED: 14:00 15 January 2019
Hackney Council has announced it will cancel all parking tickets handed out on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, when its own website mistakenly assured residents parking wardens wouldn’t be on patrol.
Officials had been stubbornly refusing to cancel any fines issued in contradiction to its own advice by APCOA wardens that day.
The council’s website clearly stated: “Sunday Enforcement until 7pm” would be adhered to on Monday December 24 and 31, giving many residents a false sense of security when it came to parking their vehicles.
Christopher Mercer was one of them and was slapped with a £55 penalty charge notice for having his car parked outside his home in Groombridge Road, South Hackney on December 31.
Parking restrictions in Zone P usually end on Friday evening and come into force again on Monday morning, so he was reassured there would be no parking controls - but was hit by the PCN anyway.
“I saw the warden nearby, and asked her why she was working when there was no enforcement, and asked her to cancel the PCN,” said Dr Mercer.
“She said she could not. I also spoke to her manager on the phone who said he was aware of the “mistake” but could do nothing.”
His appeal was rejected by the council, despite him including a screenshot of its online advice.
He refused to pay the fine and was expecting to have to attend a tribunal to appeal it.
“They wrote me this letter saying tough luck,” said Dr Mercer.
“I think the council do not want to cancel my notice because on that basis they will have to cancel many more, and the salaries paid to the wardens working in those zones that day will have been wasted.”
But after the Gazette stepped in, the council has now admitted the blunder.
A spokesperson apologised to all those affected. “Unfortunately the information online was wrong,” they said.
“Parking controls were in place on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
“As we are unable to know who may have referred to the website before parking, we have taken the decision to cancel all parking PCNs issued on both days, and will refund those drivers who have already paid, to ensure we are treating all drivers fairly.