Driver’s fury at £60 fine after parking in restaurant’s disabled bay

Parking fines: Rule changes explained in full in February

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Philip Hodgson left his car in the bay as he took his 84-year-old stepmother, who suffers from Parkinson’s, and his 87-year-old father, who has a degenerative eye disease, out for dinner. Philip, who is a professor in Criminology, used his stepmother’s Blue Badge but did not believe he needed to pay to use the spot, as they are usually free.

Two weeks after the meal, the 57-year-old driver received a £60 parking fine from HX Car Park Management Ltd, which operates the car park in Whitley Bay, Tyne and Wear.

If he does not pay the fee, the parking ticket will increase to £120, Chronicle Live reports.

Philip, who lectures at Leeds Trinity University, said: “I think it’s wrong. I think it’s so unusual for a company to charge for disabled parking. Normally with disabled parking you get it for free. Do they not welcome people who are disabled or encourage disabled people to come?

“I rang them (the restaurant) and they’re not bothered at all. It’s done through HX Parking. He said it’s nothing to do with them. I just feel a bit disappointed.”

The car park at the front of the restaurant was previously free for everyone.

HX Car Park Management LTD began managing the car park on March 15, after being granted by planning permission by North Tyneside Council. It said they installed clear signage and a pay and display machine, as well as the option to pay using RingGo.

The company said it is “very clear” to both previous and new users that terms and conditions apply.

However, Philip said signs at the site, which say there is no free parking, were not clearly visible.

He said that had he realised there was a charge he would have paid the required fee, which he believes would have been no more than £2. Philip said: “I wasn’t trying to avoid paying, I just didn’t know.”

Philip, who lives in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, had been visiting his dad and stepmother when he received the parking fine earlier this month.

“They are Whitley Bay residents and have parked on-site using their blue badge previously,” the professor said.

A spokesperson for HX Car Park Management said: “There is a sign in front of the disabled bays to state that the tariff applies to blue badge holders. It also states in the “Blue Badge Rights and Responsibilities” leaflet issued by the government that blue badge holders are still required to check signage in all car parks, especially private ones, and should not assume that they can park for free. Our entry sign notifies all drivers that they are entering private land.”

The company has urged those who do not want to pay for disabled bays to park in the nearby car park operated by North Tyneside Council. It said: “There is a council car park to the right of Spanish City Plaza that offers free parking for blue badge holders. If they do not wish to pay to park, which is understandable, they have the option to park there. It is not unusual for private car parks to charge for disabled drivers; most do.”

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