Making money from innocent people

Copy of a letter sent to Welwyn Hatfield Council regarding parking tickets

Dear Sir / Madam,

I am writing to express my utter disgust at the system surrounding parking tickets in my local area.

I live on Woodland Rise, Welwyn Garden City. This road is an extremely quiet residential road with little or no traffic at any time of the day. It has a parking restriction between 9am and 11am, Monday – Saturday.

Firstly I would like to question the reason for this parking restriction? The restriction is not due to traffic levels, as they are at a complete minimum in this area. I believe that the restriction is to stop people parking on our street and walking to the town centre for work. If this is the case (which I believe it is), then surely there would be no harm whatsoever in residents of the street parking outside of their own houses?

In my household there are seven people. This means that we own a number of vehicles and also have vehicles visiting our house regularly. As we live on a quiet road with little traffic, parking is not normally a problem. However during the restricted hours it is often a big problem. We have to do our best to work around this which sometimes involves ensuring that someone is going out before 9am in their car and not returning until after 11am. I personally think that it is ridiculous that we (and other families on our street) have to do this.

The solution to this problem would be to allow residents to park outside of their own house, and for their vehicles to be identified by a permit in the windscreen. To my knowledge this is not available and so we continue our struggle.

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At this moment in time it is 9.45 am on Saturday 24th October 2009. I already have a parking ticket on my car.

This parking ticket will cost me �70 of my well earned money to pay. (Or �35 if I manage to get the money together quick enough!). Do we not already pay enough money to the Government through Council Tax and Income Tax?!

The country is going through a recession and we are all struggling to pay our bills. However we are still landed with these extravagant fines for doing something totally harmless – forgetting to move our vehicles off the road before 9am!!

I am not a criminal, I have not committed any crime, yet I have to pay the Government �70 of my own money for doing something totally harmless.

If you check your records you will see that as a family we have paid a number of these tickets over the years. The amount of money in your pot from us is constantly rising.

At the moment my whole family, including myself, are suffering from Swine Flu. This has led us all to fall out of sync with our usual routine which is why it didn’t cross any of our minds that we had entered in to the “restricted hours” without checking the cars this morning.

Having received this ‘Penalty Charge Notice’, I firstly question why it is such an extreme amount and where does this money go?! Secondly, why am I being made to feel like a criminal for having left my car parked outside of my house on a deadly quiet street on a Saturday morning?!

I have to say that your Wardens are very thorough – if we leave our cars on the road accidentally, we normally have a ticket within the first half an hour of having left it there – not leaving us much time to realise our mistake and correct it!

On this occasion, I am not going to shift my finances around and make cuts in order to pay this fine, because I think it is time that a change is made in the system.

I think it is totally wrong that residents cannot park outside of their own homes and that if they do they are hit with these enormous fines!!

I now have in front of me this week’s Welwyn Hatfield Times and I would like to make a comparison between my fine and the fines issued to people who have committed driving offences: Using a mobile phone whilst driving - fined �30. Driving with no MOT - fined �55. My fine is significantly more than both of these fines. Both of the driving offences listed here could have seriously endangered people’s lives. My offence is leaving my vehicle parked outside of my house on a quiet street and I am fined �70!

I hope I have explained clearly why I am no longer going to continue abiding by this ridiculous system and forking out my own well earned cash to the Government. I just see this as an easy way to make money from innocent people, and I know that the majority of residents in this area would agree with me.

I hope that you will see the error in the system and make a change to it with immediate effect by cancelling this particular charge and issuing residents of this street with parking permits.

I look forward to receiving your response. Thank you in advance.

Yours sincerely,

Teresa Dunne

Woodland Rise, WGC