Elderly and disabled worshippers, who were among people hit with parking fines while attending morning mass, have had their tickets cancelled.
All of those who appealed the £50 fines, which they received when they were parked outside Our Lady and St Hubert’s Catholic Church in Oldbury in May, will now have them scrapped.
And that’s after the council installed three disabled parking bays outside the church, on the junction of Bleakhouse Road and Wolverhampton Road, earlier this summer.
Those who appealed the fines received an email telling them of the good news.
In the email, Jaz Chahal from APCOA Parking UK Ltd, on behalf of Sandwell Council, wrote: “Kira Fleck, the Parking Services Manager has considered all the notices that were issued on the day and has exercised her discretion to cancel the notice. Having taken into consideration the events of the day and listening to the church officials and the attendees, the need to accommodate bays for the disabled was identified.
“This was subsequently approved by the cabinet member Councillor Maria Crompton and the order to this effect was sealed on 16/07/2013.”
The email went on to reassure that funeral vehicles have special dispensation to park outside. There was a furore when some churchgoers walked out of mass on Sunday, May 26, to find parking attendants writing up the fines.
Those at the church said they were mystified as to why they were being punished, as they had been parking in the same location for more than eight years.
Furious pensioners, some in wheelchairs, pleaded for 30 minutes to have the penalty charges overturned but were refused. One of those hit with a fine was Mary Docker, aged 59.
She is one of those who appealed, and said she is delighted with the response. In July she claimed she had been told the fines were going to be withdrawn – something Sandwell Council denied. She said: “I am pleased. It was a distressing incident, as it was totally unnecessary for the parking attendants to have the attitudes they had.”
Sandwell Council’s cabinet member for highways and environment Councillor Crompton said: “We said at the time that officers would speak to the church and listen to the concerns of the churchgoers.
“That is exactly what we have done.”