'I am losing business': Decades-old food van issued incorrect fine while parked in usual spot

Hilldene Kebabs

Hilldene Kebabs is located opposite TSB Bank at Hilldene Avenue in Harold Hill. - Credit: Tom Erol

The owner of a Harold Hill food van has been forced to fight an incorrect parking fine despite having served hungry customers from that spot for almost three decades. 

Owner of Hilldene Kebabs, Tom Erol, has been trading from his mobile kebab van in Hilldene Avenue car park since 1993.  

But on Friday, April 1, both the business and one of its customers was issued a parking ticket.  

Havering Council confirmed the penalty charge notice (PCN) for the business has been cancelled and was “issued in error”.  

Tom said: "My customers are worried they could get a parking ticket and I am losing business.

"The council should be helping businesses and it feels like they’re just out to catch you - I want to warn my customers of this incorrect action.”  

Hilldene Kebabs’ trading hours are from around 5pm until midnight seven days a week.  

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Havering Council said his customer's PCN, which Tom has paid for, was valid for parking over white lines.  

The parking area became paid-for in 2013, with no charge if people stay under an hour but a £3.50 fee to stay up to a maximum of three hours.  

Tom said the wardens have recently been cracking down on the rules and he must work fast so his customers can park for free.  

A Havering Council spokesperson said: “We can confirm that the business does have a valid street trading licence for its mobile kebab van to be parked in an allocated spot in the car park, under the conditions of the licence. 

“We would only issue a PCN to the business if they breach the conditions of the licence.  

“The licence does not apply to customers or staff to be able to park there.” 

But Tom is worried the wardens have “scared off” his customers.  

The 64-year-old businessman said he used to be busy at 5pm opening time, but now suffers “big gaps” in serving customers due to their concern over being given a ticket.  

This comes after a disabled 82-year-old had to fight parking fines he received when his mobility vehicle broke down on a pavement.

At the time, Havering’s cabinet member for environment Cllr Osman Dervish said the local authority will be reviewing the case again.