Grieving Kirkby family issued apology over parking blunder

Sutton car parks
Sutton car parks

PARKING chiefs have apologised to a grieving family after initially refusing to cancel a fine issued to their father on the day he died.

Relations of Edwin Sowter were left shocked after being told they would still be expected to pay the ticket, despite the 75-year-old fatally collapsing in the street from a heart attack.

But after challenging the decision with the backing of Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero, Notts Parking Partnership has this week u-turned on its decision- three weeks after Mr Sowter’s death.

Zoe Thompson, the partner of Mr Sowter’s son, said: “It was disgusting, the family was grieving.

“They must have thought we had made it up but why would anyone do that?

“It’s hard enough to accept that a dad has died alone in the street but to then have those who won’t believe you is awful.”

Mr Sowter, a farmer from Kirkby, had driven into Sutton on 29th October and left his Ford Transit van parked in Market Place with a valid paid- for ticket placed in the windscreen.

He collapsed a short time later and was taken to King’s Mill Hospital where he sadly died.

Hours later a traffic warden had spotted that the van’s ticket had expired and issued the fine, but later told a friend of Mr Sowter’s family - who had gone to find the van - that they would need to email an explanation to Notts Parking Partnership in order to have it cancelled because it had already been logged on the system.

Despite sending an email explanation the very next day, Notts Parking Partnership

responded by saying ‘after careful consideration of your informal challenge, I have no grounds for the cancellation of the charge’.

But following pressure from Gloria De Piero to have the fine scrapped, a letter of apology from Notts Parking Partnership was finally penned to the family on Monday.

Gloria said: “I originally wrote to bosses at Notts Parking Partnership and the Nottinghamshire County Council on behalf of the family and I asked them to look into this upsetting situation and given the circumstances, consider cancelling the charge.

“I’m glad that they have now seen sense and the right decision has finally been reached.”

“When the original challenge to the parking ticket was received there was a mistake in our process which meant that a letter of rejection was sent directly to Mr Sowter, for which we apologise,” said Gareth Johnson, civil parking enforcement manager at Nottinghamshire County Council- a principal partner in Notts Parking Partnership.

“Once the error was brought to our attention on 14th November we cancelled the ticket immediately.

“We aim to respond to email challenges within a week of receiving them.”