Wigan mum receives parking fine for breastfeeding her baby
A Wigan mum has spoken of her disgust at being fined for exceeding her parking limit because she was breastfeeding her baby.
Alice Beaumont-Draper from Pemberton went on a shopping trip to Robin Park in February 2019 with her then five-month-old son, who needed feeding before heading home.
A few weeks later she was shocked to find a parking fine come through her letter box for being 22 minutes over the two-hour limit.
Ms Beaumont-Draper said: “I was under the impression it was four hours parking unless there was an event in which it was two hours, and I wasn’t aware that there was any event on that particular day.
“There were supposedly signs at both entrances to state if there was something on, but where I entered the sign wasn’t visible.”
After receiving the fine, she contacted parking company Highview Parking to explain her side of the story but says she wasn’t taken seriously.
“I told them it was a mitigating circumstance but they were having none of it and told me I broke the contract of parking and every time after this the company refused to speak to me.
“I’m a midwife and a new mum. I didn’t go over on purpose.
“Breastfeeding is a protective characteristic and it was an unavoidable situation.”
Ms Beaumont-Draper submitted two appeals to waiver the fine but both of them were rejected and the fine was later turned over to a debt collecting agency.
She then contacted Wigan MP Lisa Nandy, who instructed the debt recovery to drop any further action, much to Ms Beaumont-Draper’s delight.
But just when she thought her ordeal was over, she was issued with a letter of claim from a different debt collection agency and threatened with court action over the now £170 fine.
Ms Beaumont-Draper added: “I was horrified when I received the letter from DLB after everything.
“Lisa Nandy contacted them as well and was told it didn’t matter and that they will continue to pursue it.
“I feel like I have been discriminated against for feeding my hungry baby. It was an honest mistake and the whole thing has made me incredibly anxious.”
A spokesperson for Highview Parking said: “This PCN was issued in February 2019. We rejected the appeal as the appellant claimed that she was shopping at the site and also fed her baby.
“She said she had receipts to prove she was shopping.
“We asked her for a copy of her receipts twice and she failed to provide them.
“She referred her appeal to the independent adjudicator who also rejected it.
“She failed to pay and the matter was sent to the collection agent. This PCN has never been written off.”
However Ms Beaumont-Draper has told the Observer she was never asked for receipts.
Wigan Today contacted DLB but it declined to comment.
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