Family hit with two £100 car park fines, despite medical emergency

Gateway Retail Park on Tower Road. PHOTO: Mick Howes

Gateway Retail Park on Tower Road. PHOTO: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

A family have been fined for being less than half-an-hour over a car park's maximum stay, despite a dementia-sufferer falling ill.

Gateway Retail Park. PHOTO: Mick Howes

Gateway Retail Park. PHOTO: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

Tim and Julie Anderson have also had an appeal against the decision rejected by an ombudsman after parking at the Gateway Retail Park, in Lowestoft, in November.

Mrs Anderson's 75-year-old father, whose wife had also been fined for being over the time limit, took unwell while shopping.

The couple, of Church Lane, Kessingland, have slammed UK Parking Control for the three hour maximum stay limit, claiming it is hurting businesses in the town.

Mrs Anderson said: "We are really disappointed, especially when we try to support these businesses. This is completely unjust, for a matter of half-an-hour. There is no empathy.

Gateway Retail Park. PHOTO: Mick Howes

Gateway Retail Park. PHOTO: Mick Howes - Credit: Archant

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"We used to go once a week with my parents for some fresh air, but we are avoiding going there at the moment. The three-hour limit is putting people off and damaging these businesses who have invested in our town."

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Mr and Mrs Anderson were 24 minutes over the maximum stay, while Mrs Anderson's parents, from Beccles, were 31 minutes over, with both ordered to pay £100 after losing the appeal.

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Mr Anderson said: "They said we should have phoned up to tell them about the medical emergency, but that obviously wasn't the first thing on our minds. We hadn't noticed the three-hour limit because the signs are so high and the text is too small to read."

A spokesperson for ombudsman Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA) said: "POPLA cannot allow an appeal because of mitigating circumstances.

"If a motorist has agreed to abide by terms and conditions by parking in a car park and has not done so, it is likely a PCN will be valid. However, there are circumstances where the motorist is unable to keep the parking conditions for reasons beyond their control.

"Motorists have described emotional and distressing circumstances and although we are unable to allow appeals for these reasons, we do refer such circumstances back to parking operators asking them to cancel the PCN."

Between October 2018 and September 2019, 37.3pc of the 359 mitigating referals were cancelled.

UK Parking Control have been contacted for comment.

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