A WOMAN has told how she was left with a £60 parking fine despite having proof she had bought a ticket before visiting her sick mother in hospital.
Mandy Eggleston, of Coxhoe, County Durham, is one of several motorists to express their anger at LDK-Security which operates a private car park close to the University Hospital of North Durham in Durham City.
Now city MP, Roberta Blackman-Woods, has called on the landowner to improve its ticket machines and for the NHS Trust to lower its parking costs at the hospital's official car park.
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Mrs Eggleston, 54, who has paid the fine, bought a parking ticket - which cannot be stuck to the windscreen - before visiting her mother, who suffers from lung cancer and stomach problems.
She believes it may have been blown off the dashboard when she shut the car door in the unlit car park.
“It’s just not right, to go to a hospital and actually pay for a ticket and to be hit with a fine like that," she added.
The Northern Echo has highlighted the cases of two other motorists with similar stories and is aware of several others.
In 2011 a cancer patient from Pity Me, near Durham, was fined £90 when his hospital appointment over ran while last year a Shildon grandmother was fined £60 after her ticket also blew off the dashboard.
Kelvin Mupungu, director at LDK-Security, said the private car park, situated just off the main roundabout leading to the hospital, was cheaper than the NHS Trust car park.
He explained LDK ran the existing the car park but did not own it.
“There have been very exceptional cases where we cancelled tickets on the basis of good will but we shouldn’t really. We can’t have a situation where everyone just says their ticket blew away. The signs are clear and they say the ticket has to be properly displayed.”
Roberta Blackman-Woods, a Labour MP, said she had contacted LDK-Security and had been assured her they would approach the landowner to suggest the parking meters be changed to ones dispensing sticky-backed tickets.
However, she believes the main issue is the affordability of the NHS Trust car park. The LDK-Security run car park costs £3 for 24 hours and the NHS one costs £4.
A spokesman for the Durham and Darlington NHS Trust said car parking at the hospital’s own car park was in fact comparable to other hospital car parks across the region.
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