DISABLED blue badge holders have criticised changes to a hospital car park saying the new policy is confusing.
Isobel Wood visits Gosport War Memorial Hospital for her disabled daughter but says since parking firm NCP has taken over, where she can park for free is unclear.
The signs are so unclear and it is unfair on people who might not know the policies.Isobel Wood
As previously reported in The News, NCP took over the car park in May and increased the parking charges.
But Ms Wood says the new signs which show the changes in parking are hard to understand for people with disability blue badges.
‘When I got to the hospital after the changes had been made, I wanted to check I could still park for free,’ she said.
‘But on the signs, it says charges may apply for people with blue badges. It is just ridiculously confusing.
‘I ended up parking in a nearby street because I didn’t have change on me and didn’t want to risk getting fined.’
After her visit to the hospital, on Bury Road, Ms Wood contacted NCP to ask what rules apply.
She was told if someone with a blue badge parks in a disabled bay they do not have to pay. But if the bays are full and the person has to park in a normal space, despite displaying their badge they could be fined if they do not buy a ticket.
Ms Wood added: ‘Most people would just assume if they are displaying a blue badge they would not have to pay.
‘Loads of people could be getting fines in the post for not being aware.
‘The signs are so unclear and it is unfair on people who might not know the policies.’
On social media, people have been complaining about being told by the hospital they have to pay to use the disabled spaces. One woman, who is disabled, said she had to pay £1 an hour.
Ms Wood said if the signs are not improved, more people will pay unnecessarily thinking they could get fined, or not pay and risk a fixed penalty notice.
‘I have been in touch with Gosport MP Caroline Dinenage to hopefully get this sorted,’ she said. ‘It is not fair what they are doing and they only want to make money.’
A spokeswoman for Southern Health NHS Trust, which runs Gosport War Memorial Hospital, said: ‘We can reassure residents that previous car parking rules at the hospital still apply.
‘Blue badge holders can continue to park for free in the disabled bays; however, when parking in a normal bay they need to purchase a parking ticket.
‘We are aware that the signs are unclear about this and can confirm that they will be updated next week.
‘In addition, we will be undertaking some work in July to review the number and location of disabled bays to ensure they are in the best location for disabled patients. We will also re-mark the bays to improve accessibility.’