Oct 2, 2015
One of our members introduced us to a gentleman who has severe spinal problems, giving him mobility issues which qualify him for a blue badge. On top of that, he's recovering from a stroke. However, in spite of his own difficulties he still helps our Member to get to their local town, regularly giving her lifts to and from the shopping centre.
He was taken swiftly under our wing when our member told us what Nottinghamshire County Council and their agent had been doing to him since February of this year. At that time he'd been forced to try and squeeze his Motability vehicle into what was left of a disabled people's parking space, because a van had been parked illegally while its driver unloaded for Boots The Chemist. The regional customer services representative of the delivery firm, in a letter sent to our Client on 27 February, has admitted that his driver was in the wrong.
In spite of the fact that our Client had done nothing wrong, Notts CC decided not to accept his appeal against their £50 fine and passed the matter straight over to their external debt collection agent, who wrote to our man demanding immediate payment. Additionally, Notts CC failed to provide him with politely requested photographic evidence of the alleged offence. He replied to the debt collection agency, also in writing, that the matter was in dispute, but they nevertheless went ahead and obtained a court warrant for the seizure of goods to the value of an alleged debt that had by this time grown from £50 to £175! Our Client wasn't even given the chance to represent himself in court before the warrant was issued. He knew nothing about the issue of that warrant.
By this time it was September and no-one had ascertained the physical or mental conditions under which our Client labours daily. This, bearing in mind, that the County Council has a statutory duty of care to vulnerable people living under their jurisdiction. It stands to reason, in our view, that anyone using a disabled people's parking space legitimately is certainly not in full health.
Our member spoke to the debt collector and could only say of him that he was the most unpleasant character that she'd ever had the misfortune to deal with. The description she gave of him started with "A" and ended with "E" and was definitely not "agreeable."
In spite of claiming to have the aforementioned court warrant, the representative refused to supply a copy of it via email to our Client. This is in spite of the fact that the law clearly states that this is the right of anyone who is subject to such a warrant.
Our client had been left feeling deeply depressed, so we were obviously very concerned for his ongoing safety. For this reason it was decided (with his permission) to involve his local police, who visited him within eighteen hours and were absolutely brilliant. Our reporting member stayed with the Client in the interim period. We've duly lodged our sincere thanks on the police's website, noting the visiting officer's outstanding professionalism and sensitivity in assisting our Client to understand the ins and outs of the appalling situation that he had been cast into. That visit also helped us to recognise the extreme urgency of our Client's situation, and we therefore paid the entire debt on his behalf on the afternoon of 3 October.
We have serious complaints about Notts CC's behaviour and malfeasance towards our Client, and we have started action to determine exactly why he was pursued so ruthlessly for a fine that he should never have been given in the first place. We also want to know why they noticeably failed to pursue the driver of a delivery van, parked illegally in the bays reserved for disabled people. We will not let the matter rest until we have answers to the valid and very serious questions that we have raised regarding their maltreatment of this badly disabled and vulnerable 62 years old man.
We have requested investigation by both the Minister for Disabled People and his Shadow, with a view to further investigation by both the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Local Government Ombudsman.
Our Client is hugely relieved and once he receives confirmation of payment he will at last feel able to unlock his door without any further fear of unjustified pursuit by bailiffs.