Cliftonville dad’s anger at parking fine due to out of order machines and fury at ‘false’ maintenance log claim

John says the machines were out of order and a claim that maintenance logs showed them working is 'false'

A furious motorist who disputed a parking fine in Margate on the basis the ticket machines were not working says he believes council responses to his appeal and then Freedom of Information request reveal the authority’s reason for rejecting his appeal was ‘totally false.’

Cliftonville dad John Horton parked in Hawley Square in November but says both machines were out of order and he did not have a phone to use the Ringo app to buy his ticket,

The store worker later received a fine at a discounted rate of £25.

John, who lives in Cliftonville with his two sons, says he appealed, saying the machines were out of order so he had no way of paying.

The 60-year-old said: “I parked in Hawley Square and both ticket machines were not working so I couldn’t buy a ticket.

“I was gone for around seven minutes and when I returned the warden was some 10 yards ahead and had ticketed me. I told him the machines weren’t working and he said use the Ringo app but I didn’t have my phone with me.

“ I told him again the machines were broken and he said to appeal, which I did.

“The council wrote back to my appeal saying they were upholding the fine as according to their records the machines were working. – my son witnessed they weren’t working so I appealed again saying that their statement was totally untrue and inviting them under the Freedom of Information Act to provide a copy of the daily report stating the machines were working when in fact they hadn’t worked all week.”

In response to John’s first appeal he received a letter from a council officer, seen by The Isle of Thanet News, saying: “I have checked the P&D machine maintenance log and can confirm that all our P&D machines were working at Hawley Square on the date of the contravention.”

Not satisfied, John then submitted the FOI asking for copies of the maintenance log referred to in the letter. He received a response to this a few days before Christmas.

A council response, also seen by The Isle of Thanet News, says: “We do not hold this information. The parking team have been to have a look at Hawley Square and believe that you are referring to machine 137 and the out-of-use metric machine next to it.

“There are no maintenance logs within the flowbird system for machine 137 for that day and the metric machine is off and we have no records for this. We are still in the process of looking at getting these old machines removed.”

The letter adds that only two parking fines were issued for the site on that day (November 4) including the one John received.

Former train driver John, who has now paid the £25 fine, said: “My view is that it is clear to see the statement of the council holding daily maintenance records showing the parking machines were working is totally untrue as the FOI clearly states they have no such records.

“It also seems to show the council knew full well these machines were not working and yet did nothing to inform anyone. It’s totally wrong.

“I’m not taking it any further because I know full well absolutely nothing will be done to put it right, I sent copies of my complaint to the head of TDC and others, but I know my efforts will be pointless.”

John adds that the ticket machines were still out of order over Christmas.

December 24th – still broken

A further query was lodged with Thanet council over ticket machines in Ramsgate which were also out of order during the same time period.

A council spokesperson said: “Parking payment machines throughout the district are routinely inspected during daily patrols by our Civil Enforcement Officers.

“Council officers also check the payment machines system regularly during the working week. As and when issues are identified, they are reported to our machine engineers for repairs to be scheduled.

“Cashless payment is available for motorists wishing to park in the majority of the district.”

36 Comments

  1. I am sick and tired of companies assuming everyone has a smart phone they can use to pay for car parking or any other service – it is a form of prejudice.

    I am not interested in a smart phone as rarely use my mobile phone as prefer to use my home phone. I do not want to be disturbed by phone calls when out and about and only have it in case of emergency or advising or receiving calls from friends if delayed etc.

    I went to a restaurant in Cecil Square on Tuesday at 5pm and the parking machine in the Square was out of order so I had to drive around until I found a one hour free street parking bay as fortunately restrictions do not apply after 6pm. But I was horrified to see the cost of parking in Cecil Square – £3.20 per hour, so £6.40 for two hours. No wonder the High Street is so empty.

  2. The article shows the incompetence of the parking department of thanet council. Many people in thanet do not have smartphones and rely on cash to pay bills and parking fees. This case shows thanet council is part of rip off britain

    • You said ‘ this case shows Thanet council
      is part of rip off Britain’ and you post under the name of county councillor barry Lewis. Surely part of the incompetent of you and your councillors.

      • Im a county councillor not a thanet district councillor therefore on street parking metering is NOT my responsibility

        • If that is the case, are your comments directed directly at Thanet council, and the people of Thanet, or county councils as a whole, or are you saying many people in other Council area’s have smart phones.

  3. Does your son have a phone where he could take a photo ? Or even phone the number on the machine, which maybe you should have done at your first opportunity. If not ask the council if other people were fined for the not paying the parking fee. I would be very surprised if you were the only one if the machines were not working.

  4. I think it shows a bloke who thought he would get away with not paying and is angry at being caught!

    He knew it was broken but decided to stay there instead of moving to a different area because he thought he could be back quick enough ” was only gone 7mins”!!!!

    So no one but himself to blame as he choose to stay there and oh shock “forgot his phone” that day too.

    • Oh no…blah, cynical, blah, “I think” blah.

      Dont judge people by what others may “think” is your own standards of honesty.

  5. i neither have nor want a smart , and to the best of my knowledge its not yet mandatory to have one ? but i feel all of these machines , including the ones at the hospital are just another money making racket.

    • I don’t know about in Thanet, but when I was in Tunbridge Wells recently the car park was ONLY payable via smarth phone. Like you, I neither have nor want one (I don’t drive either, but my other half does).

  6. The council saying they were working on the day of contravention does not mean they were working at the time the attempt to use them was made. In the absence of records how can TDC confirm they were working anyway.
    Last i heard, tdc parking officers were meant to check the ticket machines as being in working order before issuing any tickets. That check you would assume would include taking a picture of an operative machine. Along the broadway the wardens open the machines to check them before ticketing.
    However there are now new signs saying that you can also pay by ringo and if you can’t by either method ,find somewhere else to park.
    It wouldn’t be so galling if the wardens issues tickets where hazards are created by bad parking, but do you ever see one outside the hereson or westbrook tesco or ticketing any of the haphazardly parked cars outside the isles schools for the afternoon pick up , etc ? ( the road layout was changed outside the westbrook tesco to deal with the issue instead)

  7. It’s quite simple.
    If you’re supposed to pay for a service, then pay for it.
    If you can’t pay for it, then don’t use the service.
    If you won’t pay for it, then pay the consequences.

  8. Read between the lines… he was only gone 7mins!

    Basically he thought he would try his luck and not pay and now spinning a web of lies to make himself look innocent.

    Apparently they have three machines there so why not use one of them or park further along to the next working machine?!.

    He got caught and quite rightly has been fined but doesn’t see himself as doing anything wrong as the machine was “broken” so he choose to break the rules!

    Suck it up and pout some more!

  9. Thanet District Council should be fully investigated it does appear that their letters are a blatant attempt to pervert the course of justice.

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