Butcher overturns £20,000 in parking fines after proving yellow lines were in wrong place

Jimmy Nsubuga
·4 min read
Gareth Sell, 36, has won a two-year battle to overturn more than 50 tickets. (SWNS)
Gareth Sell, 36, has won a two-year battle to overturn more than 50 tickets. (SWNS)

A butcher has won a two-year battle to overturn more than 50 tickets and £20,000 in fines for parking on the same set of yellow lines - after proving they were wrong.

Gareth Sell, 36, had been parking on double yellow lines near his shop in Corner Farm Close in Tadworth, Surrey, for years when he started getting fines in early 2019.

The father-of-four refused to pay them – believing the spot was a private road and therefore ineligible for yellow lines.

Sell, from Redhill, received more than 200 letters from the council and eventually had bailiffs trying to climb through his garden, but he stood his ground and parked at the spot every day in protest.

And after racking up an estimated total of more than £20,000 in fines, he finally proved he was in the right all along.

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Online documents proved the yellow lines outside his shop were in the wrong place. (SWNS)
Online documents proved the yellow lines outside his shop were in the wrong place. (SWNS)

Sell found official documents online that proved yellow lines outside his shop were in the wrong place and shouldn't even cover the spot he parked.

Surrey County Council finally admitted defeat, asked Reigate and Banstead Borough Council to revoke all his fines - and offered him £300 compensation.

But he believes that is "insulting" and said he would be seeking a solicitor to take them to court.

Sell - who even moved home to get away from the bailiffs - said: "It feels really good.

"One, it's like phew I haven't got that massive debt, and two, it wasn't right what they were doing.

After incurring around 20 tickets, in December 2019, Reigate and Banstead Borough Council maintained they had a Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) on the area dating back to 2004.

They said it meant they could issue tickets - and paint lines - but Sell still refused to pay up or stop parking there until he saw a copy of the TRO himself.

He requested Surrey County Council disclose the TRO’s full written details - including which bits of the road the lines should be on - but claims it refused.

He trawled the council website and finally, in October 2020, found a copy of the 2004 TRO and its boundaries himself.

The order said the yellow lines should start "from a point four metres south of the southern boundary of the electricity substation" - leaving a four-metre gap without lines.

In reality, the yellow lines started right next to the substation - leaving no gap, covering four metres too much of the road, including the spot where Sell incurred his notices.

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Sell outside his shop in Surrey. (SWNS)
Sell outside his shop in Surrey. (SWNS)

A Social Care Ombudsman raised the importance of his complaint, and on 16 March this year, Sell finally got a response from Surrey County Council acknowledging the error.

It admitted the parking lines were longer than the lines in the description on the 2004 TRO and shown on the map on the updated 2013 version.

A Surrey County Council spokesman said: “Although they were issued in good faith, Surrey County Council acknowledged errors regarding fines issued to Mr Sell in a letter on 16 March 2021.”

A spokesperson from Reigate and Banstead Borough Council added: “We have been advised by Surrey County Council to cease enforcing at the location and we will be cancelling the unpaid fines and refunding any payments.

“We are sorry for the inconvenience caused to Mr Sell and we are pleased the matter has been resolved."

How to appeal a council issued parking ticket

Which? advises people how to appeal council issued parking tickets in three stages.

  • The first stage is to create a parking ticket appeal letter that includes photos of any road signs or markings that are not clear, photos of a ticket metre if broken, witness statements, crime reference number if the car was stolen and any other relevant evidence.

  • Which? advises people to follow the council’s official appeals process whether it’s via the website or written. If written include your address, vehicle registration number and ticket number.

  • If the council rejects your appeal and you feel you have a strong case you can make a further appeal to an independent body that will decide your case.

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