Croydon drivers hit with letters ordering them to pay £195

Many claim they did not receive the letters offering them a chance to pay the standard reduced £65 figure.

Croydon Council is investigating whether a software failure is to blame for this fault, which targeted motorists who drove through prohibited roads during November and December of 2023.

While most acknowledge they drove through these zones and would pay the initial fine, they believe the order for a £195 fine without the chance to contest is “unfair”.

Sel Sharpe, an elderly motorist who was caught driving back from Croydon University Hospital told LDRS: “I just think that it’s kind of heartwrenching to get something like that when you’re a pensioner. They just need to get it right.”

Sel , of Shirley, also commented how this fine has come at the worst possible time for Croydon residents, who are facing the dual pressures of a cold winter and cost of living crisis.

She said: “I’m incensed. It’s cold at this time of year, do we have to now cut down on food because we are being made to pay £195.”

After reaching out, she discovered she was not the only pensioner who had experienced this.

She discovered another elderly driver drove through the same restricted section of Lodge Road and received a similar letter demanding £195 instead of the initial £65.

Others have told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) how they have paid the initial fine, but have still received letters from Croydon Council, saying they must pay the full amount or face enforcement action.

Many have expressed their frustrations with trying to contact the council to correct this issue. 

Speaking to the LDRS, South Norwood resident Jeanette Goddard said: “The problem is that you can’t question it as there are no phone lines you can get hold of. You can send them an email but more often than not they don’t bother to respond.

“I did try Croydon Council, but I waited half an hour one day and forty-five minutes the next. They only told me the same thing, which was that I had to send an email.”

She added: “I was parking on the street, waiting to get my tyre changed. As I moved off the camera caught me going down that road.

“I paid on November 21, but they did not acknowledge it and the next letter said it had now gone up to £195.

“I’ve already sent them all the proof, so I don’t know what the problem is. There is obviously something going on with their computer system. It’s like Mr Bates vs The Post Office.”

On Nextdoor, one resident said: “Right now I do not have the funds for the full increased amount and feel very upset.

“I have never received the PCN and its already escalated to the charge certificate. I fear it will affect my credit score if I don’t pay and it is causing a lot of tension.”

Councillors have acknowledged the distress this software failure may have caused residents, in what is considered one of the most financially challenging times of the year.

They also noted the failure may have been compounded by Royal Mail delays over the festive period. 

Tory Councillor Alasdair Stewart, who represents Purley Oaks and Riddlesdown, said: “It’s clear from the residents I’ve spoken to, both in person this weekend and on online platforms, that there is an issue – possibly compounded by delays and issues with Royal Mail deliveries.

“I’m sorry for the added stress this will be causing residents, especially at what is typically an expensive time of year.

“The Mayor and relevant cabinet members are aware, and I’m sure will do everything they can to fix any issues and ensure residents don’t lose out.

“If anyone didn’t receive the original Penalty Charge Notice notification letter, they should contact the council directly or via their local councillors.”

While they await the Council’s official response to the issue, residents have also discussed the possibility of filing a statutory declaration with the Traffic Enforcement Centre (TEC).

This option could provide them with an alternate means of redress. 

Claims taken through the TEC require residents to go to County Court and get a declaration signed officially.

Once the claim is received by the TEC, it will prevent any further action from the local authority. The TEC will then asses the claim before making a decision.

When approached for comment, a spokesperson from Croydon Council said: “We are investigating a potential software problem that may have impacted some PCNs issued in the borough late last year. We are currently looking into this further and apologise for any inconvenience or distress that may have been caused.

“We will be in direct contact with anyone affected if our investigation does uncover a fault in the system. There will be a further update this week.”

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