NHS staff are being fined for parking at their own health centre

·2 min read
<span>Photograph: Lynne Sutherland/Alamy</span>
Photograph: Lynne Sutherland/Alamy

NHS staff are being issued with £70 parking charge notices (PCNs) for parking at a medical centre during their shifts. The problems began months ago when a newly built Aldi employed an enforcement company, Parkingeye, to manage its car park next door to the Purbeck health centre in Milton Keynes. The automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) camera at the entrance to Aldi has been set up with an unnecessarily wide range so that it photographs vehicles turning into the adjacent NHS site. The Aldi store manager and Parkingeye have been made aware of this and ensure the tickets are cancelled when contested, but not everyone will know to appeal and some staff have been sent several PCNs. Aldi blames Parkingeye and Parkingeye customer service is unable to arrange repositioning of the camera.
KH Chertsey, Surrey

The Aldi opened in December, so Parkingeye has had five months to sort its cameras out. Initially, Aldi told me that staff at the health centre, which includes a dentist, two specialist clinics and a GP surgery, should log their vehicle registration numbers at the Aldi store to prevent future PCNs. When I pointed out that it was unreasonable for drivers to have to register with a unconnected third party for permission to park in their own car park, it confirmed that the ANPR camera had now been adjusted so that only vehicles entering the Aldi premises would be captured. Parkingeye was contacted for a comment.

Earlier this month I reported on an enforcement firm pursuing food-bank users and volunteers for charges of up to £170 when they parked in the food bank’s own car park. Management companies prevent abuse of private parking spaces, but extortionate charges and heavy-handed tactics have prompted a government crackdown. In February, plans were announced to cap most private parking charges at £50 and to require reasonable grace periods before PCNs were issued. Although private parking charges mimic council PCNs, they are invoices, not fines. Motorists who feel they have been unfairly issued with one should complain before paying the enforcement company or the landowner. If that fails, they can take their case to the Independent Appeals Service or POPLA, depending on which dispute resolution scheme the firm subscribes to.

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