Stoke Hammond couple claim CBC parking fine is ‘unfair’ after blue badge mistake

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A Stoke Hammond couple claim they were wondering where Central Bedfordshire Council’s Christmas spirit went, after they received a hefty fine for “a simple mistake”.

Owen and Janice Kiely visited the West Street multi-storey car park on December 7, but forgot to set the clock on their blue badge before they left.

When they returned after 30 minutes of shopping, they were dismayed to find a £70 fine (which would be reduced to £35 if they paid within 14 days) and have called on CBC to be more lenient in the future.

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Owen, who has chronic arthritis, said: “I’m 81 and you do forget things. I think as older people or disabled people park there, the council should display a notification to jog your memory.

The West Street multi-storey car park. Photo: Google Maps.The West Street multi-storey car park. Photo: Google Maps.
The West Street multi-storey car park. Photo: Google Maps.

“We didn’t think it was worth appealing and have paid [the £35]. However, we could afford to pay; there will be older people or disabled people who can’t.”

The couple claim that when they arrived and returned to the car park there were only a few other cars there, and therefore felt they weren’t causing any major problems, as it wasn’t a busy day.

They also feel that the security guards had ample opportunity to come over to check the badge to remind them.

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Owen added: “We parked up and as we came out of the car there were two security guards. They were just standing there, talking, and they never said anything to us.”

Their daughter, Janine, claimed: “It’s the multi-storey car park in LB so I don’t think there are any restrictions to the length of time you park in there [with a blue badge] outside of lock-up times?

“Pettiness like this will make people , like my parents, think twice about shopping in LB when the shops need their custom.”

A Central Bedfordshire Council spokesman said: “We can confirm that a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN) was issued to a driver parked in the multi-storey car park as their blue badge was not displayed correctly.

“We always advise blue badge holders on how to display their badges by providing them with an information booklet when they are first issued, and this is reinforced should they receive a PCN.”