‘Provide neighbour’s death certificate or face parking fine’ – funeral-goer told

Sylvian McMillan, aged 70 outside her car near Harold Road in Upton Park. Sylvian was given a parkin

Sylvian McMillan, aged 70 outside her car near Harold Road in Upton Park. Sylvian was given a parking ticket by Newham Council and after several months appealing and contesting the ticket has had the parking charge dropped - Credit: Vickie Flores

A funeral-goer was asked to provide a death certificate for her dead neighbour in appealing a parking ticket received after attending his funeral service.

Sylvian McMillan, of Harold Road, Plaistow, was told by Newham parking officers to ask her neighbour’s grieving relatives for proof she was at a funeral to avoid a penalty charge.

“I had to go to the family – I was really embarrassed,” she said.

But, after a four-month appeal, the 70-year-old secretary has been told the case has been dropped.

The fine was issued on October 28 when Sylvian returned from the service at the City of London Cemetery and Crematorium, Manor Park, to park in a space earlier reserved for the funeral cortege in Thorngrove Road, near her house.

The spaces were reserved until 6.30pm, said Sylvia who arrived just before and was stung with a ticket – despite knowing the funeral had finished.

In November last year, the council’s parking team sent Sylvian a letter about the ticket giving her 14 days to provide a copy of the death certificate or pay the £60 charge.

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“I thought that was really nasty – it’s left a bad taste,” she said.

“People need to know that they shouldn’t be doing that. I had to go to my neighbour to get the death certificate as proof that I was at the funeral.”

She added: “If they’re doing that to me, what are they doing to other people?”

After sending a copy to the parking team and threatening to take her appeal to the council parking adjudicator, Sylvian received a letter on February 23 saying her appeal had been successful.

“I’m pleased because I was going to [fight this] all the way,” she said.

Sylvian advised people to appeal their parking tickets if they think they have been unfairly treated.

“They need to appeal,” she said. “Don’t just pay the money if you think something is not right.

A council spokeswoman said procedures were being reviewed.

She said: “Newham Council apologises for any distress that Ms McMillan and her neighbours have experienced during this sad time.

“As requested by the relatives, bays in the residents’ parking zone in Thorngrove Road were suspended to accommodate the funeral cortege and the council was also provided with registration details of these vehicles. Ms McMillan’s car was not one of these vehicles and she was issued with a Penalty Charge Notice (PCN).

“At the time we considered it was reasonable to request a death certificate be provided as evidence, however the council now accepts that a letter from the family confirming Ms McMillan’s attendance of the funeral would have been reasonable evidence to enable the PCN to be cancelled.

“The council is now reviewing its procedures to try and prevent this from happening in future and ensure that residents are not caused additional distress during these emotional occasions.”