We all understand that parking restrictions and the companies that enforce them are part and parcel of the modern world.
So we don’t have an issue with NHS Property Services using a parking firm to manage spaces at Havant Health Centre.
There is a need to ensure that people not visiting the centre don’t think they can park there, thus depriving patients of somewhere to leave their cars while going to an appointment.
Smart Parking’s solution is that people can park at the centre for free, providing they enter their vehicle registration details into a terminal inside.
But the problem is that this technology is proving hard for some elderly, disabled and vulnerable people to use.
As a result, a number have received parking charge notices. Despite explaining their difficulties, their appeals are refused and they are told to cough up £60 – or £100 if the charge isn’t paid within two weeks.
These aren’t people flouting the system. They are patients visiting a health hub, yet they are being made to feel they have done something wrong. No wonder they’re angry and upset.
Ralph Jones, 73, and his wife drove his sister-in-law to an appointment because she’s disabled and blind. They tried to use the vehicle registration machine, but couldn’t get it to work. A week later a demand for £60 landed on their mat.
They wrote a letter to explain that they had tried to enter their details. Result? Refusal of appeal.
We say that people who make every effort to abide by the rules should not be penalised.
It’s time for an appeals system that takes into account that users of the car park may be elderly and vulnerable people.
Smart Parking should show some compassion.