Redbridge Council gives elderly woman �165 parking fine despite disabled permit

An elderly woman has been fined more than �100 by Redbridge Council for not paying a parking penalty – even though she has a disabled permit.

Frances Withers, 77, of Wanstead, said she was given the ticket for parking opposite Bogers textiles shop in Station Road, Ilford, in August.

She believed the unmarked bay was intended for the use of disabled badge holders.

But when she returned to her car, she had a ticket and saw that she had left her permit displayed back-to-front.

Mrs Withers, of Queenswood Gardens, said: “I was going shopping and I had just come out of hospital the week before because I had a clot on my lung.

“I know it was silly for me to put it the wrong way around and I’m sure they are going to accept it when I’m in the hearing but I thought they would accept my apology and explanation.”

But the council persevered with the fine, which now stands at �165, and Mrs Withers must appear before the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service in Islington.

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She said: “It’s a lot of money for someone on a pension and most people would be too frightened to appeal.

“I have the permit because I’ve got arthritis in both by hips and problems with my ankles so I can’t walk too much.

“I’m 77 and I don’t need stress like this, it’s not my first pass so they must know I have it.”

Blue disabled parking badges are issued by the council to people who are blind or have mobility problems because of any other disability or illness.

A council spokesman said they could not comment on the specific case because of the appeal.

He added: “We would remind all blue badge users that that guidance states drivers are responsible for ensuring their blue badges and time clock are displayed correctly, and that failure to do so will result in a penalty charge being issued.”

But John Coombes, chairman of the Redbridge Pensioners’ Forum, said the council should exercise “discretion”.

He added: “It’s a bit unfair because people can get confused with disabled permits without realising how they should be displayed but if it’s obvious one is there, why the hell can’t an attendant take it for granted?”