A FUNERAL arranger has hit out at Bell Court owners after she was fined for moving her car on private land to accommodate hearses.
Barbara Hatcher, who works at WG Rathbone Funeral Directors in Stratford, was fined £400 for two incidents after parking at the side of the firm’s building at the back of Rother Street – land owned by shopping centre Bell Court.
The first occurred when a delivery lorry blocked her allocated parking space, forcing her to park next to the building. Although she was on yellow lines, Barbara claims she was not an inconvenience to other traffic or pedestrians. She says she left a note asking parking attendants to notify her to move her car if it was causing a problem.
She explained she often needed to move her car to allow hearses and ambulances to access the building – particularly during the pandemic – which she claims was the result of a second ticket.
Barbara said: “When I explained the situation, they told me – if they’re loading, the hearses can just park on the side, but actually no they can’t because they have to reverse in because it’s not appropriate for a coffin to be carried out our back door and placed in a hearse on the street. So my car can’t be parked in the driveway because there’s no room.
“If I know there’s a funeral going out then I park my car at the side of the gate because they can’t get into the driveway. Ambulances as well have to bring deceased people for the for the funeral.”
Barbara’s tickets were originally £100 each but mounted to £400 as she disputed them.
She added: “I’m classed as key worker working through a pandemic. I’ve been so busy yet I kept fighting and fighting until I got a court letter and finally gave in and paid the £400.
“I wasn’t in the wrong. They could have easily tapped on my door and asked me to move my car. If I park around the front, the traffic warden from the council taps and asks me to to move it and has always done that.”
Bell Court declined to comment when contacted by The Observer.