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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Driver faces £90 fine despite having ticket

A FURIOUS driver has issued a warning to other motorists after she was left facing a hefty £90 fine for using a parking bay with faded white lines.

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Amanda Welsh is pictured with a parking ticket at the LDK Security-run car park opposite Hexham Hospital.

Prudhoe’s Amanda Welsh was horrified to find a yellow ticket slapped on her vehicle, which she had paid to leave in the privately owned car park opposite Hexham General Hospital, while she took her 14-year-old son to an appointment.

But, despite paying for a ticket which took her well over the time she was actually parked on the land on Corbridge Road, she was still penalised with a fine for using a bay where the markings had worn away.

“I noticed the dreaded yellow ticket slapped on my driver side window, even though we had an hour left on our ticket,” she explained.

“I then noticed a ticket on a BMW which was parked to my left, which belonged to a midwife who turned up and was just as puzzled as to why it had been issued.”

After confronting a car park attendant to ask how they could be held responsible for the maintenance of the car park, Amanda and the midwife were simply told they had breached the terms of use by not parking in a clearly marked bay.

“I drove home livid, but after calming down and reading all the horror stories of parking ticket fees escalating into hundreds of pounds, I went on their website and typed in my reference number from my fine,” said Amanda, who works as an administrator at Prudhoe’s Oaklands Health Centre.

“I was mortified to find many pictures of my vehicle including tax disc, registration number and distant pictures of my parking, but no close up showing the small remaining section of bay line to the left of my car.”

Concerns over the unpaid fine leading to debt collectors and court orders prompted Amanda to pay the fine, which was reduced to £60 because it was within 14 days, but attracted a further £1.50 handling fee for paying online.

“An elderly lady getting into her car opposite me said there had been trouble that morning over the same issue, so how many innocent people are being issued these £90 fines for the same reason?

“And how are the general public supposed to know which bays will attract a fine and which ones won’t, as they are all worn or broken white lines?

“If I’d not bought a ticket or had parked over a line then I’d be first to hold my hands up and admit wrongdoing but this just seems ridiculous.”

A spokesman for LDK Security, which operates the car park on behalf of owners, Helen McArdle Care Group Ltd, said: “We operate a lot of car parks like the one in Hexham, which are opposite hospitals, and are well-used because they are often cheaper.

“We are not responsible for the maintenance of the lines in the car park, but do accept that tickets are sometimes issued in error.

“Anyone who receives a ticket they feel is unfair or unjust can contact us to appeal.

“If they are not happy with the outcome of that, they can contact the independent appeals service, which was launched in October.”

Parking On Private Land Appeals (POPLA) was established to provide a dispute resolution service for parking charge notices issued in respect of parking on private land, in response to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, passed by Parliament earlier this year.

The organisation may only consider appeals against parking charge notices issued on or after October 1.

A spokesman for the Helen McArdle Care Group said: “Having spoken to LDK, the ticket was given as they felt the car was blocking access.

“However they can see that the bays aren’t clear in this instance so they will be refunding the ticket.

“We are currently maintaining the bay markings in this car park.”

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