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One-legged Romford woman had ‘no choice’ but to park illegally - council cancel £700 fine

09:11 28 January 2014

Stephanie Vernon-Penrose from Romford.

Stephanie Vernon-Penrose from Romford.

Archant

Havering Council sent bailiffs to take a one-legged woman’s car for refusing to pay a £700 fine after she was left with “no choice” but to park illegally outside her home.

Stephanie Vernon-Penrose, 48, of Rush Green Road, said she and her neighbours are forced to park with two wheels on the kerb on the narrow road outside her flat after the council knocked down nearby garages two years ago.

But the council has now agreed her disability makes her an “exceptional case”, has cancelled her fine, and has agreed to install special street parking for her.

Stephanie, who has a prosthetic limb, received four £55 tickets over a fortnight in June.

She appealed but the council passed the case on to the courts and the bill escalated, resulting in bailiffs being sent.

“The council took our garages away two years ago and built a meals-on-wheels business,” said Stephanie. “When bailiffs came I was absolutely shocked. I didn’t think it would get to this stage so quickly.

“It’s been so stressful. I’ve never been in debt or in trouble with the police.

“I tried talking to the council but they wouldn’t let me see a manager.”

Since the court summons, Stephanie has been parking at her mum’s house, which is a painful and dangerous ten-minute walk for her.

“I have to be careful walking because I can’t grip on one foot,” she said.

Cllr Barry Tebbutt, cabinet member for StreetCare, admitted it was an “exceptional case.”

“Stephanie needed to change her normal parking location, and because there isn’t any footway parking where she lives, she parked illegally on the pavement,” he said. “As soon as we were made aware of the circumstances and the resident’s disability needs, we acted quickly.

“We’ve cancelled the penalty charge notices issued and assessed the resident’s parking needs. The assessment showed that footway parking can be safely installed, and we’ve already written to local residents telling them this.”

Stephanie praised the response from the councillors, but claimed it is “overdue.”

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