A NORTHLEW resident is fighting an Okehampton Station parking fine after her autistic son became distressed when they were unable to pay the charge as the machine was not working.

Chris Scadeng is challenging the fine, arguing that the difficulties she faced paying the parking charge caused extreme distress to her son who feared they might miss the train to Exeter because the payment process was taking so long. As a result, she said she abandoned her attempts to pay as her priority was to care for her son.

Ms Scadeng said: ‘My journey was to Exeter with my son. He has autism and gets very anxious if planned events do not happen as anticipated. He’s not very good at waiting so there was no point arriving an hour early, but the ticket machine was out of order and there was no signal so I could not pay by phone. The train was almost coming and my son was becoming increasingly agitated as he realised that we might miss the train.’

Ms Scadeng added that the ruling was ‘wicked’ and in contravention to the disability discrimination act. According to the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the UK’s Equality Act 2010 states that someone must not be discriminated against because they have a disability which the act classes as a physical or mental condition affecting someone’s long-term ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

APCOA, the company which runs the station’s parking system, initially refused to repeal Ms Scadeng’s parking charge notice (PCN) as the company ruled that there were other ways for her to pay the charge, such as via the APCOA app, but has since reviewed the situation after receiving more information about the incident.

An APCOA spokesperson said: ‘While it is important customers at Okehampton are aware that there are alternative methods of payment when a ticket machine is regrettably not working, we take a fair approach to parking enforcement and will always listen to an individual’s circumstances.

‘We now understand that the customer attempted to use an alternative method of payment and are therefore willing to cancel the fine in good faith. We will contact the customer directly to notify them that the matter is now closed.’

This is the latest in an ongoing saga in which many residents have argued that they have received unfair parking fines despite providing proof that the ticket machine was out of order and finding it difficult to access the app.

Some have said that after challenging the PCN, APCOA have informed them that the fine has doubled and are now receiving threats of bailiff action.