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Ticket for charity minibus which couldn't fit between lines at Lockmeadow car park in Maidstone

A charity minibus carrying a dozen disadvantaged youngsters was hit with a ticket by Maidstone Borough Council because it couldn't fit between the painted lines in a "half-full" car park.

Members of the Boys' Brigade in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, travelled down to Kent last month for a week of fun activities in the County Town, including kayaking on the River Medway and a visit to Leeds Castle.

The Boys' Brigade and their minibus. Picture: Nev Keating
The Boys' Brigade and their minibus. Picture: Nev Keating

The bus - boarded by youngsters aged between 12 and 22, all either from deprived backgrounds or living with a disability - parked up in Lockmeadow ahead of an afternoon of trampolining, but when they returned, they found a £25 fine on the windscreen.

Captain Nev Keating said: "We've got our own vehicle which is longer and wider than a normal minibus to accommodate for those with disabilities.

"We did our research before and it said online that minibuses can park there, but it didn't make it clear there, or on signs or the pay station, that this is restricted to a few spaces at the back of the car park.

"There were probably a couple of dozen cars parked when we came in and when we came out there were a few more but it still probably wasn't even half-full.

"We applied to the council hoping they would see sense but they said no, there was no empathy at all.

The Lockmeadow complex in Maidstone
The Lockmeadow complex in Maidstone

"It may not sound a lot of money but these boys pay £1.50 a week to be a member, so that's coming out of their pocket, essentially.

"I think it's a bit mean, it put a bit of a dampener on what was supposed to be a really fun trip for everyone."

A council spokeswoman said: "Where penalty charge notices are issued, they may be challenged through the formal appeal process and if later rejected, the council’s decision can be further challenged through an independent adjudicator.

"Minibus bays are provided at Lockmeadow for larger vehicles and the terms and conditions of parking are clearly displayed on the information boards within the car park."

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