A married couple who were each stung for the same parking offence were left scratching their heads after a tribunal body decided to overturn the wife’s appeal claim but not the husband’s.

Tom and Sue Conlon, who for several years have lived and parked their cars outside Beecholme Primary School, opposite their home in Beecholme Avenue, Mitcham, were both given £100 parking fines on the morning of September 2, 2010.

Having seen each of their appeals rejected by Merton Council, the pair took their case to the independent Parking and Traffic Appeals Service (PTAS), which upheld Mrs Conlon’s appeal but rejected Mr Conlon’s identical appeal.

On May 6, a shocked Mr Conlon received a confirmation letter from the PTAS which read: “You and your wife had identical appeals but one was allowed and the other refused.

“That another adjudicator reached a different decision on similar facts does not mean that either of the decisions are wrong, in the sense of being reviewable.

“They were both decisions that the respective adjudicators could properly make upon the evidence before them.

"Indeed, adjudicator Harman was aware of the decision that Adjuciator Thorne had made when he reached his different decision.”

They were fined because of a recent change in the council’s parking enforcement policy which restricts parking outside the school outside of term time, but Mr Conlon claims neither they nor his neighbours were made aware of the change.

Mr Conlon said: “It’s just unbelievable that two people are allowed to interpret the same parking laws and come up with a completely different result.

“What planet do these people live on? It was hardly a complicated case. You wonder whether these people are having a laugh at our expense.”

A spokeswoman for the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service said: “We can't really comment about individual cases like this.

"It is a matter for the adjudicators who are individually independent.”

Neil Herron, founder of parking enforcement watchdog Parking Appeals, said the decision was “ridiculous” and said Mr Conlon’s only recourse was to take the matter to a judicial review, which could cost thousands.

Mr Herron said: “PTAS is usually pretty good, but an inconsistency like this just leaves the public with suspicion and a nasty taste in their mouths.

“It does not appear to be fair and the credibility of the organisation must be called into question.

What do you think? Leave a comment below, call 020 8722 6335 or email: ooakes@london.newsquest.co.uk.

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