Martin Plummer and his wife Maureen were fined after using the Dovecot Street car park in Stockton-on-Tees, County Durham. They left the car park after only six minutes because, due to bad lighting, they couldn’t read the parking meter properly.
Speaking to Teesside Live, Mr Plummer, 70, said: “On the evening of February 24, my wife and I parked at Dovecot Street car park at around 8pm. This was the first time we’d used the car park so we were unaware of the costs and methods of payment.
“We managed to pool some change together but due to the bad weather it was quite difficult to read the instructions, it was clear I had to type in my registration plate but the ‘P’ was completely worn on the machine. I tried the other machine and it was no use – so after being very cold and very frustrated we got back in the car and drove away.”
The couple tried to appeal against the decision but Parkingeye, which runs the facility, says signage clearly points out how drivers should “use the car park responsibly”.
But according to the British Parking Association’s code of practice, a minimum grace period of five minutes should be allowed for the driver to leave the car park should they not decide to park there.
Mr Plummer, who drove out of the car park exactly six minutes after arriving, was initially fined £100 fine, reduced to £60 upon prompt payment.
“We contacted Parkingeye three times upon our appeal and instead of gambling on another appeal, we decided to pay the £60 so it wouldn’t escalate. I feel that to impose a parking charge of £60 for the sake of six minutes is both unreasonable and grossly unfair given the circumstances,” he continued.
Since Teesside Live contacted Parkingeye, the company cancelled the fine as “a gesture of goodwill”.
A Parkingeye spokesperson said: “The Dovecot Street car park in Stockton on Tees is monitored by ANPR camera systems and has signage throughout that gives motorists clear guidance on how to use the car park responsibly. Motorists have the option to pay at the machine on site or by phone.
“The motorist parked in the car park on February 24 without paying and therefore received a Parking Charge Notice. However, following a review of the case we have cancelled the PCN as a gesture of goodwill.
“Parkingeye operates a BPA (British Parking Association) audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their Parking Charge Notice. If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing to Parkingeye.”