War against parking fines

CHOBHAM resident Paul Stead was issued five fines by CP Plus, the private company that operates Brookwood Station’s car parking.

Incredibly, this happened even though Paul had bought a valid parking ticket and had correctly displayed it.

CONQUEST - local Paul Stead won his one-man battle against parking fines issued needlessly by South West Trains but did not get so much as an apology

CONQUEST – local Paul Stead won his one-man battle against parking fines issued needlessly by South West Trains but did not get an apology

On receiving each fine notice, he rightly queried them… but was never given a clear explanation.

In the end it was the stationmaster who explained that the painted signage on the ground reading ‘Season ticket holders’ did not apply to season tickets for train travel, rather to another, special, type of season ticket – for parking purposes.

Paul diligently explained to both the parking company and South West Trains that the law requires signage to be adequate and, above all, unambiguous.

However, their response was to escalate  his fines, threaten court action and send debt collectors. Paul resisted these pressure tactics and held firm to his trust in the law.

He was right to do so as, after battling him for eight months, South West Trains suddenly and inexplicably withdrew their claims.

Paul told the News & Mail: “It felt a little like David and Goliath, and it put my family under an awful lot of strain.

“I am thoroughly disappointed with the obtuseness exhibited by both the parking operator and the train company, but I stuck to my guns in the knowledge that I had the law behind me.”

He had desperately wanted to have his day in court so that a definitive conclusion in his favour would: a) force the companies to correct their behavior; and b) give others subjected to similar bullying the courage to fight back.

Unfortunately, the climbdown robbed him of his day in court, although he still very much wants other drivers to know that ‘Might does not in itself mean Right’, as he put it.

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