Northampton mother-of-two criticises council after being 'embarrassed' and 'bullied' by bailiff over bus lane fine

"It was embarrassing for us and the neighbours to see it. I felt bullied. I had no option other than to hand money over."

By Logan MacLeod
Saturday, 18th December 2021, 8:20 am

A Northampton mother-of-two has criticised the council after bailiffs clamped her car over an unpaid bus lane fine, leaving her 'embarrassed' in front of her neighbours.

Louise Deborah woke up on Friday morning (December 17) to a barking dog and a neighbour knocking on her door telling her that her car was being clamped.

The 39-year-old had to pay £408 on the spot outside her East Hunsbury home to stop the bailiff from taking her car a week before Christmas.

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The bus lane and camera in St James' Road

The mother said: "It was embarrassing for us and the neighbours to see it. I felt bullied, I had no option other than to hand money over.

"It's the last day of school before Christmas, it's jumpers and party time and I'm getting stressed about this.

"The clamp is off now. If I didn't pay it within the hour they would have taken my car away - I was worried so I paid.

"It's a week before Christmas, I've not got money coming in and don't get paid until New Year's Eve, my husband has broken his arm in two places and can't work as well, we just can't afford this."

Louise said she drove in the former 24/7 bus lane on St James' Road opposite Westbridge Garage back in May, which she concedes was a mistake.

However, the mother claims she has not received a single letter from West Northamptonshire Council (WNC) about the contravention and heard nothing from the enforcement company until they were at the door.

Louise moved address from Delapre to East Hunsbury in July and believes that information was not processed correctly or in time by the DVLA.

She said: "I completely accept I drove in the bus lane.

"I'd have paid it if I got the letter, but I can't pay it if I never knew about it. From then to now we have had no letters.

"I'm sure for plenty of offences people are not paying their fines, but one phone call and I would have just paid it.

"The council needs to have better communication with people. This seems very unreasonable.

"I would like my money back. I don't understand it. I would like to know what communication the council did make with me and when they made it.

"It's a series of unfortunate events - where's everyone's compassion? It just seems crazy."

A WNC spokesman said: “All correspondence was sent to the address held by the DVLA and we are not aware of any delivery issues.”

The 24/7 bus lane and camera has since been scrapped by the council and will revert to its previous operating hours of 7.30am to 9.30am each day.

Public outcry and extensive media coverage led the council to rethink the scheme which has pocketed them more than £500,000 in eight months.

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