Monday 12 October 2009

Not guilty as charged

Has anyone got a good word to say about Islington Council? My encounters with them have never been good.

When we lived in central London Town, I rented a car parking space in an underground car park. It cost a lot to rent. I had to pay Council Tax on it too. To Islington Council. To the tune of £800 a year. Yes that is indeed more than many people pay for a whole house. When we moved to our cottage in the Forest (I think Little Red Riding Hood lives close) we got our own garage. In fact it's part of the cottage. Some people would turn it into a living room. We haven't becasue we like to fill it with Boy things. As we have this garage, we didn't need the one in London Town. So I wrote to Islington Council and told them we didn't use it anymore. They sent me a Tax Demand. Over the course of several months I wrote again and again, I telephoned them and I even went to visit them. Same story every time: I don't use this parking space anymore. That didn't stop them issuing a court summons. And refusing to withdrawing it. So I went to court. On the day I was supposed to be going to a friend's wedding. When I stood up in court the judge asked why I was pleading not guilty. I produced the letters, the dates of correspondence and the dates I had visited Islington Council. The judge asked Islington Council why they had issued the summons. They explained that they hadn't had time to check the space was not occupied. The judge dismissed the case. The court made the Council pay the costs and refund the Tax they had made me pay. If you live in Islington you paid for that.

When the boy's Mum died, he inherited, with his sister, a nice house in Finsbury Park. Finsbury Park is in Islington. Council Tax has to be paid on the house. When it is occupied by tenants, the tenants pay the tax. When it's vacant, the Trustees are responsible for the Council Tax. Not me. I don't own the house, I simply find tenants for it. The Trustees live in Wales; its a long way away so I help them out - why wouldn't I? It's my son's inheritance. I have explained that to Islington Council many times over the last several months. By phone, e-mail and by letter. I even have a letter from them telling me that they have removed my name from their records and I am no longer associated with the house. I've got e-mail apologies from them. But that hasn't stopped them issuing a Court Summons for next Thursday. This time I shall ask for compensation. This time I will ask the Court to make them stop harassing me. This time I expect the Court will make Islington Council pay the costs. If you live in Islington you will pay for that.

P.S. I've learnt through experience that Courts have a habit of making sure they upset everyone, so disregard the bravado above....I'm not counting my chickens, yet


  1. Commiserations. i have even gone as far as the omsbudman in wales re parking to no avail. Its all about power methinks.

  2. I really appreciate the fact that YOU are prepared to stand up to them and do the right thing. Scaredy cats like me need people like you to shake 'em up and sort them out. Thank you. Good luck for next week. As Douglas Admas said "they'll be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes" - just ask Arthur Dent about Councils!

  3. You really are walking the line with the law these day. I'm quite proud of knowing an outlaw.

  4. I am quite in awe, I've never even had a parking ticket !


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