Raymond Singleton-McGuire, a former council deputy leader has attacked his authority for wasting thousands of pounds after a two-year battle in which Boston Borough Council pursued a £25 parking fine that should never have been issued.
Local businessman Raymond Singleton-McGuire was given the ticket when he left his car in a council car park in 2014.
The car park was for use by councillors and staff only on weekdays – and although the ticket was issued for leaving his car outside the parking bay, Mr Singleton-McGuire argued that it should not have been dispensed in the first place.
The council’s Chief Executive at the time agreed to quash the ticket after it emerged that although the car park had been reclassified as public almost two years before, councillors and staff had not been told.
The council eventually let Mr Singleton-McGuire know a month after the ticket was issued.
Despite an apparent promise to quash the ticket, nothing was done, repeated calls for action were ignored, and in desperation, Mr Singleton-McGuire went to the then council leader Peter Bedford for help.
“He told me that the reputation of Boston Borough Council and his Party (Conservative) was at stake, and said that he had told officers not to communicate and spend any more time on the issue of the correct and proper procedure not being followed.
“This extended to freedom of information requests, without which my case in proving the council failed to follow the correct procedure was hampered.
“This was clearly what appeared to be an unorthodox interference and inappropriate use of political power denying me my statutory rights.”
A traffic penalty tribunal adjudicator report said that although Mr Singleton-McGuire was told four months after the ticket was issued that it would be reviewed by the Central Ticket Office, this did not happen as the council did not provide the required information and that he was deliberately not informed of the initial court date … which prevented him from appealing, and with the matter eventually ending up in the hands of bailiffs.
Mr Singleton-McGuire asked for costs of almost £2,000, but these were rejected as this was not usual practice, and the adjudicator felt that the case could have been dealt with more quickly by both sides.
“Perhaps that might have been the case,” said Mr Singleton-McGuire. “But Boston Borough Council went out of its way to be difficult”.
“My claim for costs included 100 hours of my own time at just £5 an hour, which was a token charge rather than a realistic one”.
“But I know as a former Portfolio Holder for finance that the costs to the council taxpayer would have been much much more – especially after dragging things out for more than two years, which makes me especially angry at the time when demands for even more council tax have been going out.”