Andrew McLeay's appeal rejected despite being assured he had key worker exemption
A charity worker in Ealing says he has been left distraught after being hit with two parking fines while he was helping provide meals for people in need during the pandemic.
Andrew McLeay has to take his car to do the job and was told that he would have a special dispensation as a key worker. However, two fines were given out by Ealing Council parking attendants while he was parked near Mattock Lane.
He posted on Facebook, “I hadn’t realised what I had to do as we were just exceedingly busy in this time and I’ve personally been about three times busier than I normally am. So I think I didn’t put something in my car. We spoke to the enforcement officer and he said he wasn’t going to give us a ticket.
“Then the next week we put a little key worker sign in my car, they gave us a ticket anyway as we weren’t registered on our system.”
The result was two separate fines of nearly £110 which Andrew described as ‘a bit like a kick in the teeth.'
He registered as a key worker on the system immediately and challenged the Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs) expecting that, given the circumstances, Ealing Council would not enforce them. He presented evidence which showed he would have qualified as a key worker. However, Ealing sent him a letter notifying him of their rejection of his representations.
Describing himself as a disillusioned charity worker he said, “£110 is such a stinging price for someone who works in charity and can’t really afford it either.
“It feels like the council doesn’t care about us at all and has never ever appreciated what we do.”
Andrew works at the Ealing Soup Kitchen which has been providing vital support from St John’s Church during the coronavirus outbreak with demand increasing due to the resulting economic impact. He is one of the staff that keep the kitchen going to provide this important service. He has been working throughout the pandemic as a key worker for hundreds of families and homeless people.
Ealing Soup Kitchen is used by several hundred people each week and is currently providing takeaway food and home deliveries. Andrew was inspired to do the work there after he himself experienced a brief period of homelessness when he arrived in this country from Australia in 2008.
He now faces the choice of either paying up or going through the time consuming process of making an appeal to the adjudicator.
We contacted Ealing Council for comment and they said they were unable to respond without knowing either the car registration or the PCN number with which we subsequently provided them.
They did not respond to our question as to what proportion of appeals are rejected by them at the first stage. There is a widespread belief among residents of the borough that all appeals are rejected initially regardless of merit.