‘Wrong car park’ blood donors escape fine

NCP Car Park

NCP Car Park - Credit: Archant

Parking giants NCP have waived a £100 parking fine issued to an Ipswich couple who parked in the wrong car park to give blood.

Colin and Margaret Mortimer, from The Dales, who between them have donated blood more than 70 times, regularly visit the pop-up donation centre at Ipswich Town FC’s Portman Road ground.

Visitors are issued with a sticker for their cars which enables them free parking in a car park across the road.

Although there are two car parks on the street, Mrs Mortimer claimed they always parked in the same one

and were shocked to receive a fine in the post a week later.

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But NCP said the couple, who are retired, had parked in their car park and not the council-owned car park with which the NHS had arranged free parking for blood donors.

The parking ticket stated they had been fined £100 which would be reduced to £60 if paid within two weeks.

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“We received a letter through the door about a week later and were completely shocked, I couldn’t believe it,” Mrs Mortimer said.

“I thought maybe it was a case that they didn’t have people on-foot checking cars and that the camera systems they use were unable to see the sticker on the dashboard.

“My initial appeal to NCP was turned down and the NHS told me it would take them at least three weeks to get back to me, which wasn’t enough,” Mrs Mortimer added.

“They advised me to pay the fine, but because of that, the parking ombudsman told us we were ineligible for a refund.”

After two months of challenging the decision the couple have now been told the ticket has been cancelled.

A spokesman for NCP said: “We do not offer a validation deal with the NHS on our car park, and we were not aware of any scheme until this case was put before us and we tried to understand why we were in the wrong to fine someone for non-payment.

“We believe it is a deal that has been arranged between the NHS and a local council car park. The PCN was correctly issued, but we are happy to cancel and refund this as a one-off gesture of goodwill.

“We are asking the NHS to communicate clearly to people visiting for their appointment which car park they have this free parking arrangement with in order to prevent this misunderstanding.”

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