A MONMOUTH couple are waiting to hear whether they will be taken to court after refusing to pay a parking fine.
Retirees Brenda and David Hill from Osbaston are fighting car park management company ParkingEye after receiving a fine at the Wye Valley Visitor Centre and Butterfly Zoo on 4th July last year.
The couple have been unsuccessful in more than one appeal over the fine, despite buying a ticket for the time Brenda was parked there as she took her grandchildren to see the butterflies. The reason for the £100 charge came from Brenda’s mistake in typing only the last three digits of her car registration number into the machine, as is the procedure at council-run car parks, rather than the full number as signage apparently states.
The car park is monitored through an automatic numberplate recognition (ANPR) system on point of entry and exit, and includes a 10 minute grace period.
Despite sending her a photo of her vehicle parked in a bay at the Symond’s Yat centre, ParkingEye claim the ticket was invalidated by the confusion.
Mrs Hill, 81, refused to accept fault and has fought the fine from the start, despite being offered a £20 settlement deal earlier in the case. After refusing, her fine has since been raised to £160. She said: “There’s a problem at that car park and people should be warned.
“People are paying for something they haven’t done.
“It’s not just the money, it’s the absolute principle. They shouldn’t be allowed to get away with it.
"I know it seems silly considering all that happening in the world, but it’s important.”
Mrs Hill’s appeal to the Parking on Private Land Appeals body (POPLA) was rejected with no explanation.
Last July, the Beacon reported that several people had been caught out by the ParkingEye car park at the centre, with fines of £100 being handed out for a variety of reasons. Several more have since been in touch.
In Mr and Mrs Hill’s case, upon questioning, ParkingEye claim to have cancelled the complaint against the couple, although as the Beacon went to press on Tuesday, the couple were yet to have received confirmation.
A spokesperson for the company said: “ParkingEye manages car parks on behalf of its clients and adheres to their parking policies. We encourage people who have received a parking charge to appeal if they think there are mitigating circumstances, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communications and on our website. In this case, we have cancelled the driver’s parking charge as a gesture of goodwill.”
A spokesperson for the Wye Valley Visitor Centre added: “ This case demonstrates that the appeal process is fair, and PoPLA judges each one on its own merits so that car park operators that use ANPR cannot act as judge and jury. This independent Ombudsman service would not be available to customers if we operated the car park ourselves, because we could not guarantee to meet the high standard of evidence required.
"We support the Parking Code of Practice Bill which has had a Second Reading in the British Parliament, which we hope will require all car park operators to apply rigorous audited standards such as those of the British Parking Association, which ParkingEye is obliged to uphold."