Sheffield church fails to get parking fine quashed for ticket issued on its own land
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Vehicle Control Services Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sheffield-based Excel Parking, said Christine Ayres owed £100 after breaking the rules at Broomhill Methodist Church car park on Ashgate Road, Broomhill.
A spokesman for the Methodists said he has sent six emails and made two phone calls to VCS to object to the ticket but had not heard back. He said the church uses VCS to stop people parking on its land without permission and does not make money from the contract.
But choir singer Christine was ticketed for failing to fill in a parking permit correctly. The pensioner, a longstanding member of Sheffield Singers, slammed the “money-making exercise.”
She added: “I cannot tell you how stressful it’s been, and still is! I’ve been sent letters about increasing fines and debt recovery charges, the language is very threatening.”
She said she was unaware she had to write the date and car registration on the permit and had used the site ‘scores of times’.
“I did not attempt to deceive anyone, I’ve not taken anyone’s place and there was no harm done. I’m very grateful to the church for appealing on my behalf. I think it’s scandalous. It’s a money-making exercise for the parking company - that’s not why they were employed,” she said.
An Excel Parking spokesperson confirmed the church had appealed but it was too late because “costs had escalated and we were in the process of notifying her of our decision.”
They added: “The decision on whether to cancel or reduce a Parking Charge solely rests with us.”
The Government has announced plans to crack down on “rogue parking companies” with a new watchdog and code of conduct. Sheffield MP Clive Betts previously said he would regularly hear “upsetting stories” about firms’ ticketing tactics.
A representative for Vehicle Control Services Ltd said: “We are contracted to enforce the terms and conditions of parking at the private car park at the Broomhill Methodist Church. The car park is for valid permit holders only and one of the key terms is that a permit must be fully completed, including the date of issue and the full vehicle registration number. This is covered on signage at the car park as well as on the guest permit that was provided to Mrs Ayres.
"We are not responsible for issuing or completing the permit information and ultimately it is for the driver (Mrs Ayers) to ensure she was compliant with the terms and conditions. We are therefore satisfied the grounds for issuing the parking charge were correct and consequently we declined Mrs Ayres’ appeal. The decision on whether to cancel or reduce a parking charge solely rests with us.
“Although we are unable to locate the full trail of the alleged contact from the church, we have located two items that were received after Mrs Ayres appealed but by this time costs had escalated and we were in the process of notifying her of our decision.
“Whilst Mrs Ayres also lost her appeal at the Independent Appeals Service we are prepared, as a gesture of goodwill, to offer her the opportunity to pay the original reduced amount of £60 and in turn we will donate this amount to allwecan.org.uk which is a charity recognised by the church. We will formally contact Mrs Ayers to confirm this.”