Stepdad wins battle with St Albans council over parking fine

Mr Irving sent photographic evidence to St Albans district council after receiving the fine

Mr Irving sent photographic evidence to St Albans district council after receiving the fine - Credit: Archant

A wounded war hero and his stepdad have won their battle against the district council after a tribunal ruled they were unfairly given a parking fine.

Adrian Irving took his case to appeal after he refused to pay the £70 parking ticket he received while dropping off his disabled stepson, who lost a leg serving in Afghanistan, at Westminster Lodge Leisure Centre in February.

While he claimed he was not parked illegally and had a valid disabled blue badge on show, the council argued he was parked in a restricted area blocking access gates.

But at a traffic penalty tribunal earlier this month, an adjudicator ruled in his favour and said it was “highly surprising” the penalty had been enforced in the first place.

The former St Albans resident, who has urged others to challenge similar parking fines, said: “I feel vindicated but I’m angry that I’ve had to involve such a lot of time and emotional effort into getting the council to do what they should have done right from the beginning, which was to cancel the penalty.

“The tribunal gave a hard slap in the face to the council not only for the moral rationale for pursuing this charge but also it transpires they were without legal basis for making the charge.”

Mr Irving told the tribunal he had driven his stepson to the gym so he could continue with his rehabilitation following his injury and had parked in an old disabled bay as the new leisure centre was being built and the car park was unfinished.

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The tribunal found that even though he was not parked in a designated bay, the council had failed to prove he was breaking the law or provide any evidence to show there were signs to warn drivers about the restrictions.

In addition adjudicator Gillian Ekins said in a written statement that by law, disabled badge holders were allowed to leave their cars in non-designated bays as long as the badge was visible.

She concluded: “Finally, I also regard it as appropriate to question why the council considered that it was in the public interest to enforce this penalty.

“This is particularly in the light of Mr Irving’s explanation regarding his stepson’s disability and also because of the uncertainty of the state of the car park.”

Mike Lovelady, the council’s head of legal, democratic and regulatory services, said: “We accept the adjudicator’s decision in this case and will not be pursuing this matter any further.”