September 18 2014 Latest news:
Wednesday, September 3, 2014
An elderly couple slapped with an £80 fine after they “had no choice” but to park in a disabled bay at a Norfolk hospital have spoken out against the penalty.
Mary Brown and Alfred Bindley, of Potters Drive, Hopton, drove 70 miles after receiving an early morning phone call telling them Mr Bindley’s sister, Josie, had been taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn after suffering a stroke.
On arrival, they could not find a space in the packed car park. Ms Brown described the scene as “bedlam” with vehicles squeezing into every available space. The couple, who are both in their 80s, eventually parked in a disabled bay. When they could not find a car park attendant, they purchased a ticket. On their return to the car they found a parking enforcement notice fixed to the windscreen.
They appealed but were turned down and have now paid the £80 fine.
Ms Brown, who believes many people may have found themselves in a similar situation, branded the decision unfair.
She said: “The car park was bedlam. It wasn’t just the cars already there, it was the traffic still coming in. I don’t want to sound like I am making excuses but we felt we had no choice.
“Josie just about recognised us when we got there and the staff were wonderful. We stayed for an hour because the doctors were there and she needed treatment.”
Mr Bindley’s sister is now recovering at home. But the fine has added to the couple’s distress.
“It was quite a shock when we got the letter saying the appeal had been turned down,” said Ms Brown.
“The letter was quite frightening. It said if we didn’t pay it we could go to court. We’d already said that if we got the money back we would donate it to charity.”
County Parking, which runs parking enforcement for the Queen Elizabeth, told the couple signs “clearly state” the rules and designated disabled bays are reserved solely for Blue Badge holders.
The hospital operates its own car park and last year the income from parking was £721,532, approximately the annual cost of running one hospital ward.
Parking is free to dialysis patients, those using the Macmillan Centre and Blue Badge holders.
Have you fallen foul of hospital parking fines? Email firstname.lastname@example.org