Disabled man ‘violated and betrayed’ after getting £70 parking fine
A disabled man felt "violated and betrayed" after being slapped with a £70 parking fine for not having the right kind of blue badge.
Martyn Ravenhill, 57, discovered the penalty notice after parking in a shopping centre disabled bay with a US permit on his windscreen.
He lives in Mexico but was born in Guildford, Surrey, and has been staying with his sister there this summer.
Martyn, who has dilated cardiomyopathy and uses a defibrillator implant in case his heart stops beating, was "horrified" to return from shopping to discover the fine at Leapale Road Car Park on September 8.
The notice stated: "Parked in a designated disabled person's parking place without displaying a valid disabled person's badge in the prescribed manner."
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He said: "I was just absolutely horrified when I came back from doing the shopping and saw the ticket on my windscreen. I only parked in the space with a disabled badge to be closer to the shops.
"They slapped me with this £70 fine. Why not help? I just thought there is so much horror in the world at the moment we do not need anything more."
Mr Ravenhill claims he has been parking in Leapale Road Car Park, and others in the town, with his disabled badge "all summer long" and has not been given a ticket.
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The badge, issued by the Nevada Department of Motor Vehicles, has not expired, and Mr Ravenhill claims a traffic warden said it is valid in the UK.
But the UK does not have an agreement in place with the USA regarding blue badges, according to charity Disabled Motoring UK.
Mr Ravenhill said he felt Guildford Borough Council (GBC), who issued the ticket, was "going against a disabled person" and even thought the fine might be a joke.
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"I have not been treated with courtesy," he said. "I could not believe it, I was very upset. I have a defibrillator that restarts my heart and any stress can affect that.
"I just felt violated and betrayed by the people in authority here. It’s the reverse of taking candy from a baby. It’s giving a fine to someone who is disabled."
He added: "I actually thought it was a joke. I thought it must be a joke and I looked around the corner to see if a friend was there playing a trick on me."
He subsequently challenged the £70 fine last Friday, using an online form on the council's website, and claims he did not receive a response for days.
The council has now told SurreyLive that GBC made an "error" and the ticket has now been cancelled.
Lead councillor for parking, Cllr James Steel, said: "We sincerely apologise for our error. We have now cancelled the ticket and hope that he enjoys the rest of his time in Guildford."
Mr Ravenhill said he is pleased with the "happy outcome", adding: "To know there is some decency with the authorities is very gratifying".
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