Welsh driver refuses to pay car park fine that was written only in English as he blasts parking firm’s ‘imperial arrogance’

  • Arwyn Groe received a parking charge at a car park in Llangrannog, Ceredigion
  • Mr Groe, who lives in Powys, has been told it has been passed to debt collectors
  • One Parking Solutions Ltd are pursuing it despite losing a case earlier this year
  • It comes after Toni Schiavone won his case in Aberystwyth’s civil court in May 

A Welsh driver issued with a parking fine written only in English is refusing to pay. 

Arwyn Groe received a parking charge at a car park in Llangrannog, Ceredigion, in July and has now been told the fine has been passed on to debt collectors.

Mr Groe, who lives in Powys, refused to pay the parking fine as the penalty notice and all subsequent correspondence were not served in Welsh.

The car park managers One Parking Solutions Ltd are pursuing it despite losing a case earlier this year in court. 

Former teacher and education officer for the Welsh Government, Toni Schiavone, won his case in Aberystwyth’s civil court in May after refusing to pay an English-only parking fine from the same car park company.

The car park is under the management of One Parking Solutions Ltd, which has its headquarters in Worthing in West Sussex. 

Mr Schiavone’s case was thrown out of court as there was no representative from One Parking Solutions present.

Arwyn Groe (above) received a parking charge at a car park in Llangrannog, Ceredigion, in July and has now been told the fine has been passed on to debt collectors

Mr Groe, who lives in Powys, refused to pay the parking fine as the penalty notice and all subsequent correspondence were not served in Welsh. Pictured: Llangrannog, Ceredigion

According to Welsh-language pressure group, Cymdeithas yr Iaith, the company is now pursuing Mr Groe through a debt company for the same reason. 

The vice-chair of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Tamsin Davies said: ‘It is clear that neither the owner of the car park nor the company running it have any respect for or interest in the Welsh language. 

‘One campaigner has been to court after refusing to pay an English-only fine, and the company has decided not to listen.

‘Private companies are not under an obligation to provide any Welsh language provision so they don’t. 

‘Supermarkets and banks have told us many times in the past that they will not provide any services in Welsh until they are obliged to do so by law. 

‘So the answer is obvious – the current Language Measure needs to be extended to include private companies. And it is about time to do that. 

‘It has now been over ten years since the Welsh Language Measure was created.’

The car park at the seafront in the Ceredigion seaside village has made headlines over the past few years due to the number of people receiving fines in the post after leaving their vehicles there. 

Retired teacher Toni Schiavone won the case over a £60 parking fine 

In April of this year, a man was hit with a £270 fine despite paying for parking.

Meanwhile, Mr Groe’s fine has been passed to a debt claim company and according to Cymdeithas yr Iaith the company is now threatening to call at his family home. 

Mr Groe has been a Welsh language campaigner in Powys for many years.

He said: ‘In this particular case, it is clear that the company in question has not learned from Tony Schiavone’s stand, and continues to show a lack of respect for the people of Wales even though they should know better by now. They can’t hide behind a veil of ignorance about the situation anymore.

‘As far as I’m concerned, giving in to their demands and threats would show a lack of respect for Tony’s earlier stand, and send a message to the company that we are happy to comply with and accept their imperial arrogance. I’m not ready to do that.’

He added: ‘Now, they are threatening to send bailiffs to my house, but the most important thing to me is to stand with Toni. 

Welsh language campaigners from Cymdeithas yr Iaith supported Mr Schiavone and held banners outside Aberystwyth justice centre

‘I’m very frustrated with the weakness of the law, we must put pressure on the company in order to put pressure on other companies, and ultimately put pressure on the government.’

As Cymdeithas yr Iaith celebrates its 60th anniversary this year, Tamsin Davies asked what had changed since the organisation was founded. 

She said: ‘We can celebrate the many successes that have come through campaigning over the decades of course, but cases like this reminds us of the struggle of the Beasleys, who refused to pay their English only council tax bill and faced bailiffs, and reminds us that we still have to fight for things that should have been won long ago. So the battle for the Welsh language is far from over.’

In response, a spokesperson for Welsh Government said: ‘We are keen to see all sectors increase the use of Welsh and supporting businesses to develop their Welsh language services is a priority for us.

‘The Welsh Language (Wales) Measure 2011 gives official status to the Welsh language in Wales. We are committed to the full implementation of the Measure and following a programme of work for the introduction of Welsh language standards to more sectors over the coming years.’

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