In late March this year, Cole parked his Ford outside the Blackheath Post Office in Lewisham, in south-east London. There was no mark or disabled parking sign on or near the spot he parked in, but the next one was clearly marked as such. Cole says this wasn’t the first time he used the spot, precisely because he’d never seen any sign that said it was reserved for disabled parking.
To his surprise, he received a notice in the mail from the Lewisham Council, informing him that he’d parked in a disabled spot, for which he got a £65 ($85) fine. The photo above was included in the notice as proof.
Cole’s reasoning is that, since the spot he used for parking wasn’t marked as disabled parking, the fine must be for the fact that the shadow of his car went outside the white lines into the next spot. He was being fined for parking his shadow’s car in a disabled spot, to put it bluntly. A most ridiculous reason to issue a parking fine (*but there’s a twist).
“It’s absurd. There’s no signage where I parked and the photos they sent me only show the shadow of my car in the disabled spot,” he tells the publication, admitting that he was “gobsmacked” to find the fine in the mail. He wrote back to the Council to challenge the fine, but the Council stands by the penalty charge. In a statement, they say that Cole was fined “for parking in a disabled bay, which was marked with a ‘Disabled badge holders only’ sign.”
And now for the twist in this drama: to the Council’s response, Cole offers the age-old argument of “if I parked there several times before and didn’t get a fine, I shouldn’t get one now, either,” just not in these exact words. If that was a disabled parking spot, there was nothing around it to mark it as such. “It’s completely wrong. They’re enforcing something that’s not there. I think £65 is not a lot to many people today but the principle is wrong,” he says.
The Council is now looking into Cole’s reasons for challenging the fine.