Northampton woman, 71, 'relieved' after bus lane penalty charge 'nightmare' ends with council U-Turn

"It's really taken its toll on my health with all the worry. I just hope no one goes through what I went through. It's just not right."

Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 10:05 am
Updated Tuesday, 9th November 2021, 12:26 pm

A 71-year-old Northampton woman's bus lane penalty charge 'nightmare' has come to an end after weeks of appealing to the council.

Joy Dawson says all 10 of her penalty charge notices for driving in the controversial St James' Road bus lane, opposite Westbridge Garage, have been reset by West Northamptonshire Council.

Her bus lane fines had inadvertently wracked up to a £1,700 bill but will now be brought back down to £30 for each ticket - totalling £300 - if paid within 14 days.

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Joy Dawson is 'relieved' after hearing the news her fines will be reduced. Photo: Leila Coker.

The pensioner said: "I'm relieved. I feel like a 10-tonne weight has been lifted off my shoulders.

"It's been like a nightmare that I couldn't wake up from. It's really taken its toll on my health with all the worry. I just hope no one goes through what I went through. It's just not right.

"The council budged when I took it to the Chronicle and Echo, the radio, and television and got my story out there.

"I'm surprised, yes. I thought the council would not squash any of them. The council didn't back down completely but I'm grateful for what they have now done for me."

A council spokesman said: "As we requested during our first conversation with Miss Dawson, she contacted the Traffic Enforcement Centre to make late statutory declaration to have her cases reviewed. We accepted her assertion that she did not receive our penalty notices as the DVLA had the wrong address for her on their records.

"This effectively sets the clock back to zero on her bus lane tickets and Miss Dawson has either 14 days to pay the reduced amount or can appeal against them in the same way any motorist can if they feel the fine is not warranted."

To add to her good fortune, Motability, the car rental company Joy uses for her motor, has offered to pay for nine out of the 10 tickets she received, which is £270 out of the total £300, as a 'goodwill gesture'.

A Motability spokeswoman said: “Having reviewed the customer’s individual circumstances and in acknowledgement that if the original fine had arrived at the correct address she would not have incurred the subsequent fines, we have on this occasion made a goodwill payment.

"We encourage all scheme customers to thoroughly read their paperwork and update their address if they move to prevent situations like this occurring.”

How did Joy manage to get 10 tickets for driving in the 24-hour bus lane opposite Westbridge Garage?

She says she was unaware of her rule-breaking because there had been a mix-up with her post which saw her fine letters delivered to a house she has never lived at in St Crispin's.

Joy said if she had seen the first fine letter then the subsequent nine offences would never have happened, because she would have known not to drive in the lane.

It was only when bailiffs tracked her down at her real address in Foxfields, Upton, that she realised there was a problem.

Joy rang the council and discovered that all 10 tickets had gone unpaid and had been escalated to Newlyn's debt enforcement company, based in Northampton.

As a last resort, Joy came to the Chronicle and Echo.

She told this newspaper in October: "It will absolutely put me out on the street. I'm fighting this on my own.

"I don't understand any of it. I am beside myself worrying about it all. It's running into the thousands of pounds and a warrant has been issued against me."

And now, after 25 days of worry and appeal, she will only be paying the initial £30 fine for the first offence.

In Joy's final message to the public, she said: "If you don't agree with your ticket then fight it."

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Northampton pensioner's bus lane 'nightmare' as council fines her 10 times and b...