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Pensioner fuming after car stuck in snow is slapped with parking ticket

By Western Gazette - South Somerset  |  Posted: January 31, 2013

RAGING FURY: Jim Firth, 83, of Homecanton House was dismayed to see that his snow-covered car had been slapped with a parking ticket while he was stranded indoors during the recent treacherous weather. The fine has since been rescinded

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A Wincanton pensioner with severe arthritis was left fuming after his snowbound car was slapped with a parking ticket.

Jim Firth, 83, has had a pacemaker for the last ten years and relies on a mobility scooter to get around.

His car was parked in a disabled bay in South Somerset District Council’s Carrington Way car park – but treacherous conditions meant he was unable to move it to comply with a three-day limit.

As heavy snow receded last week, the Homecanton House resident was dismayed to see he had received the penalty notice.

Mr Firth said: “I just could not believe it. The car was covered in snow and it was obvious that it was unsafe for me to move it.

“Everybody was saying it was unsafe for motorists to travel – did they expect me to risk life and limb to clear the snow and move it?

“I suffer from severe arthritis so there was absolutely no way I could have cleared the snow off the car. The road outside Homecanton House was gritted only half-way up, but outside of my door was like sheet ice.

“I had to cancel various hospital appointments as a result of the weather.

“This was the only parking ticket I have ever received in Wincanton. I think it was grossly unfair.”

The pensioner, who has lived at Homecanton House for the last 12 years, said he was stranded in his house for two days as a result of the snow.

After deciding to brave the conditions on Friday he discovered the parking ticket, which had been issued two days earlier.

Mr Firth said: “On the parking ticket, the enforcement officer noted that he couldn’t see the tax disc as it was covered in snow.

“I’m very angry. They should have known that it was a disabled bay, and should have known better.”

After making an enquiry to the district council, the Western Gazette was informed on Tuesday afternoon that the fine had been cancelled.

A district council spokesperson said: “The issuing of this ticket was an error in the circumstances and it was cancelled as soon as we became aware of the situation.”

Mr Firth said he was relieved at the decision – but still angry.

He said: “The point still remains that I should never have got the ticket in the first place. It was simply ridiculous, and they should have used more common sense.”

Mr Firth also raised concerns over the levels of gritting on some of Wincanton’s roads.

He said: “We were not gritted up here. I couldn’t leave the house for a week.

“For anybody suffering with mobility issues the snow caused a huge problem.

“I even had to get somebody else to get my shopping.”

A Somerset County Council spokesperson said: “We don’t have the resources to treat all roads and we prioritise those we do against a set of criteria.”

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  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 12:25PM

    Come to think of it, snow is an act of god for which you can't be blamed so no wonder the council cancelled the ticket.

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  • siarad2  |  January 31 2013, 12:23PM

    Watch out there's a jobsworth about :-)

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  • bruce07  |  January 31 2013, 11:57AM

    If the weather was so bad that people couldn't get to work or school and the police were advising the puble not to undertake unnecessary travel - can't the council numpties not switch off their traffic zombies; individually, they should be sued for causing unwarranted upset.

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  • waynejkc69  |  January 31 2013, 11:04AM

    The ticket issuer should be sacked for incompetence. But at least the council cancelled it. Good of them.

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