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Council accused of secrecy after residents card row

Sam Gray with his Eastbourne Residents Card which he forgot to display in a Borough Car Park and received a parking fine which the Council will not cancel. March 18th 2014 E11187Q SUS-140319-131029001

Sam Gray with his Eastbourne Residents Card which he forgot to display in a Borough Car Park and received a parking fine which the Council will not cancel. March 18th 2014 E11187Q SUS-140319-131029001

Parking bosses slapped a £30 fine on a pensioner whose residents card fell off the dashboard in a gust of wind.

Sam Gray, 73, of Pashley Road, has used his card ever since it was introduced and regularly drives up to Warren Hill car park, leaving it on the dashboard to qualify for free parking.

However, on February 21, the card fell off and he didn’t spot it as he removes his glasses to jog. Mr Gray immediately took his residents card to the council office, but no-one was available to see him. He penned a letter explaining what had happened, adding the error was ‘made in good faith’ with ‘no attempt to deceive’, but the council replied saying his appeal ‘does not fall within set criteria’.

Mr Gray wrote back to the council, “I received your letter saying that my appeal for a cancellation of the parking charge ‘does not fall within this criteria’. However I have no idea what the council’s “set criteria” are, and so would like to be informed, please.

“Secondly, I object to the way in which the council officers refuse to discuss my appeal face to face. Although I have visited your building several times, I am always obliged to phone your office from the foyer, and then leave a recorded message because you are too busy to answer, so that you may phone me at home if and when you wish.

“Thirdly, according to your single phone call, you use an alias, for which you may have good reason, but this means that I am not only dealing with an invisible official but also an anonymous one. This is not the way in which justice is seen to be done in this country. You make your own secret criteria, and then act as judge and jury in my absence. Since you are actually paid, partly by me, to serve me, as a tax-paying resident, I find this disconcertingly arrogant.

“It is ironic that you sign your letter as a member of Customer First Team – was there ever a greater misnomer? You are clearly only interested in making as much money as possible and the customer comes last!”

A council spokesperson said, “To obtain free parking using a Residents Leisure Card the card must always be displayed.”

 
 
 

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