Fined OAP slams ‘heartless council’

John Agars
John Agars
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A PENSIONER has lost his three-year battle over a £30 parking ticket - but branded Dales council bosses ‘heartless’ for refusing to back down.

John Agars, 69, spoke of his disgust after admitting defeat after a hearing at Sheffield County Court.

District judge David Oldham refused to allow him extra time to file a witness statement to review an earlier decision against appeal made at a previous hearing.

The retired heating engineer, from Bole Hill Lane, Crookes, Sheffield, has been embroiled in a three-year dispute over a ticket issued in Bakewell in 2009.

Even he does not fully know how much money he now owes Derbyshire Dales District Council, after the fine rose from an initial £30 to £82 in November last year.

“I always said I’d never give in but I am nearly 70,” Mr Agars said outside court. “I don’t want bailiffs at my door. They’ve already been three times.

“I’m absolutely disgusted, but I’ve said I will pay the original price of the parking ticket if they are willing to compromise. This has taken up three years of my life and I just want it to be over. But I want everyone to know how heartless they’ve been.”

John Horsfield, a solicitor for Derbyshire Dales District Council, said the local authority would not submit an application for court costs. But he told Mr Agars bailiffs will continue to be sent until he pays what is owed.

Mr Agars had taken his 89-year-old disabled mother Mary on a day out in Derbyshire when he left his van over white lines in a Bakewell car park as he escorted her on a dash to the toilet.

When he came back, his vehicle had been slapped with a parking fine.

He penned a letter to the council, explaining his mother suffered from osteoporosis and his hasty parking had been in an emergency, but his plea was rejected.

The council said it gave Mr Agars information on how to challenge its decision not to waive the fine, but around the same time his mother died.

Last November the council demanded payment of £82, and Mr Agars was told he had less than a month to appeal - but within weeks was admitted to hospital after breaking vertebrae in his back.

Mr Agars said: “I’ve had other parking tickets in the past which I’ve paid, but this time it was different. I refused on principle. All I was doing was asking the council to be a bit compassionate.”

A Derbyshire Dales council spokesman said: “We would have been happy to listen to any special circumstances, but the truth is Mr Agars didn’t make himself available.”