This is the longer version of what happened:
I was going through a separation and the agreement at that time was that I had my children on one day each weekend. I was recommended to take them to a park in another town. I had not been there before.
I arrived at the park and was a little surprised that it was pay and display; none of the parks I have ever been to have had pay and display.
Not having been there before, I did not realise that the children's play area was at the far end of the park, nor did I realise that there was a second, smaller, car park at that end of the park. There was nothing to say that another car park existed.
We had a nice time in the park and in the children's area there were the usual swings, slides, etc. but the council also ran other activities such as boating on a lake, donkey rides, bouncy castles, crazy golf, electric go carts; all of these you had to pay for. The council also operated a kiosk from which they sold food and drinks.
I paid for various activities and I bought food and drinks and thus paid money to the council.
I was aware of the time and that it was a long walk to the car park but my youngest (age three) said he was too tired to walk the rest of the way. He was too heavy or I was too unfit (or a combination of both) for me to carry him.
Throughout the afternoon we had seen a miniature train going back and forth. It ran to the car park. I decided to catch the train. When the train was about to depart, more people ran across to catch it, so it waited for them.
By the time I realised I would not be back in time I was on a moving train and could do nothing about it.
When I got to the car park a man in a yellow jacket was by my car. I ran and explained everything and he said that this often happened; that the train was rather ad hoc and people often were a few minutes late. He said this had even happened to his grandchildren. He assured me that if I wrote to the council, the penalty would be cancelled. He told me he was going to make a note that I had returned to the car.
I wrote to the council, as the traffic warden had told me to do, but they sent me a boilerplate letter saying it was the driver's responsibility to return to their car on time.
I wrote to the CEO of the council but he refused to investigate, so I had to wait for a formal "notice to owner" letter.
I asked for the information relating to my case; none was supplied.
From what I have read on the internet, councils can cancel penalties and according to the internet, reasons to cancel penalties include: first time offences, and offences where the driver is unfamiliar with the area. I qualify under both of these.
The council claim there is a ten minute grace period. They say I was a couple of minutes over this.
When the notice to owner came, I did some more research on the internet and I found that the parking adjudicators report said that councils should not dismiss appeals out of hand and should not send boiler plate letters.
I also found DoT guidance that if the driver is present, the traffic warden should issue a caution, not a penalty.
So I put all of that into my submission.
The council dismissed my appeal. So I lodged the case with the parking adjudicator.
In the three letters I had sent the council previously, we had discussed me meeting the traffic warden. They said in the three letters that the penalty was issued at 16:08. They never disputed these facts.
In their submission to the adjudicator, they did a massive U-turn and now claim it was 16:10, two minutes later, and that the traffic warden has no recollection of ever meeting me and made no notes about meeting me. They claim the traffic warden has no grandchildren, so the story about his grandchildren getting a ticket when the train was late was another lie. They are implying that I have done all the lying, not the traffic warden. If this is the case, why did they not say this in their previous three letters?
It is because I have been lied to so many times by the traffic warden and now the council, that I am fighting this. I'll let you know how it goes.