Saturday, 13 August 2022

Man receives parking fine at hospital while helping friend

AN elderly man says he was fined for parking in a disabled space at Townlands Memorial Hospital in Henley despite displaying his blue badge.

Brian Chase, 80, of Birchwood Close, Emmer Green, had given a friend a lift to the hospital off York Road for an X-ray following a fall.

He parked in one of the disabled spaces outside the hospital just before 1.50pm on November 2 and says he displayed his Reading Borough Council disabled badge on the windscreen before entering his name and registration number on a keypad at reception. He left less than half an hour later.

Mr Chase was shocked to be sent a £60 parking fine by Smart Parking, which enforces the car park, six days later.

He appealed but was told that there was no evidence his car was authorised to be parked on the site that day and the fine was upheld.

Mr Chase said: “I do not understand this fine. I am 80 years of age and was assisting a friend in need. My only error, as far as I can see, is that I entered my surname and not that of the person with the appointment. The company’s reply was very impersonal and seemed quite standard.”

People visiting the hospital can enter their registration details on a keypad at reception to receive free parking and there is meant to be a 20-minute grace period for those passing through or dropping off patients.

The Henley Standard has reported that dozens of hospital users say they have been given fines after parking in spaces at the hospital despite insisting they entered their details correctly. Others say they have been fined for just driving through the site on their way in and out of neighbouring streets.

Last month, Smart Parking lost its contract to enforce the car park at the Bell and Hart Surgeries following repeated complaints by patients about incorrect fines.

The company also monitors parking at the neighbouring Chilterns Court Care Centre.

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