DAD Shane Rae is disillusioned with Oxford City Council after being handed a £100 parking fine for failing to pay a £3.50 parking charge.

The father-of-two lives in Burford and regularly takes his sons to Oxford Ice Rink in Oxpens Road to play ice hockey.

In January a petition was launched calling for more parking spaces at Oxpens for ice rink users after the city council cut capacity at the neighbouring car park.

The council closed off 241 spaces on decking and matting at the car park in Oxpens Road, leaving 179 spaces which are expected to remain open until Autumn 2020 but campaigners said this was not enough and called for more spaces to be provided.

Oxford Mail:

Product director Mr Rae said: “As you know there are on-going tensions there as the council charges parents to come to the rink to bring children to participate in sport - there is no other parking available at the rink.

READ AGAIN: Petition calls for more parking for Oxford Ice Rink users

“I was fined £100 for not paying the £3.50 charge and am appealing.

“This itself would not be much of a story except that I have receipts for paying the £3.50 41 times in the last 12 months - through the Ringo App which the council insists that I use (it charges me a service charge of 40p every time, on top of the £3.50).

“I spoke to the council and tried to appeal over the phone on this basis.

Oxford Mail:

“They told me not to bother as it does not matter than I paid 41 times over the last 42 consecutive weeks.

“Forgetting to hit the ‘one touch payment’ on the app on the 42nd visit is my fault and I now owe them £100 - despite me offering to pay the £3.50 owed.”

Mr Rae added that he subsequently obtained paperwork proving his past payments and presented them to the council but his attempts to get the fine refunded have not been successful.

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He added: “I spent the morning getting 42 receipts for my previous visits and uploading them to the portal.

“I received a letter which ignored all of my evidence and denied my appeal.”

The reduction in spaces at the Oxpens car park results from the expiry of the temporary planning permission for the decking and an extension, granted during the construction of the Westgate Centre, which opened in October 2017.

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The lack of free parking at the ice rink forces parents and other ice rink users to pay for the neighbouring city council car parking.

Oxford Direct Services manage the car park on behalf of the city council.#

Oxford Mail:

Gary Preston, customer relations team leader at Oxford Direct Services, said: “Mr Rae was made aware that he could appeal the charge, but was advised that even if he had evidence of previous compliance, the penalty charge could not be cancelled in the absence of parking payment. As Mr Rae had not made payment on this occasion, unfortunately the issue of the penalty charge was inevitable.”

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Mr Rae has decided to appeal the council’s initial rejection of his claim that he should not have to pay the fine. He has been warned that if the penalty charge is upheld, and he chooses not to pay, the case could be referred to magistrates.