Gym users hit by multiple penalties at a Northampton car park can breathe a sigh of relief after the company running it agreed to waive thousands of pounds worth of tickets.
Since National Car Parks (NCP) took over the running of St Peter's Way car park from the borough council in mid-September, close to 200 people have taken to social media to complain of being given a ticket - unaware a new set of charges had been put in place.
In October, the company agreed to refund all blue badge holders fined for using the previously free disabled bays as a gesture of goodwill, though gym users stung by a new overnight tariff urged the company to consider them for a refund too.
One regular user reported being ticketed 19 times because of the two-week delay in receiving the fines.
But in another victory for campaigners, NCP has now agreed to waive Parking Charge Notices (PCNs) against all those fined on more than one occasion at St Peter's Way prior to October 19 to "draw a line in the sand".
A statement from the company today, reads: "NCP has also decided as a gesture of goodwill to refund anyone who has paid multiple PCNs. (ie. 4 PCNs paid, 3 will be refunded).
"Due to the maximum period of 14 days for some customers receiving their PCN via postal correspondence, we do understand that they have not had the opportunity to correct their behaviour and some have numerous outstanding PCNs.
"Whilst all parties agree that customers should have been paying for their parking on site, we understand that they had not in most cases realised necessarily that they were at fault.
"As such, the decision we have reached is that where appropriate, those customers will need to pay for one PCN and the remainder will be cancelled.
"All customers will receive postal correspondence to this effect."
Previously, only blue badge holders ticketed before October 13 were eligible for a refund. That has now been extended to October 19.
NCP, which says it made the decision following a meeting with Northampton North MP Michael Ellis, has also agreed to add extra warning signs at the entrance to the site, reminding drivers of the new charges.
"We urge customers to read the signage provided in our car park, we will also move signs closer to disabled bays and do all we can to keep on alerting people to the fact that they must pay for their parking." An NCP spokeswoman said.
"We will also be inviting a disabled parking rights group to come and visit the site and give us any further advice."
Customers have until November 16 to provide evidence of a blue badge to NCP in order to get their PCNs cancelled or refunded.
The spokeswoman added: "We hope the community of Northampton can understand that we offered a period of settling in when the new signage went up and before we started issuing PCNs, following all industry guidelines, and so we have been greatly surprised at this situation that has unfolded. We have also listened, and taken concerns on board. Unfortunately, we are a business that has commercial pressures and so we are not able to offer free parking for disabled motorists, for overnight stays, and for gym members – as we have been asked by many over the last few weeks."
1) If you have received a PCN at Northampton St Peters Way, and are a blue badge holder you have until November 16 to complete the following:
- Appeal your PCN by visiting: www.NCP.co.uk/PCN
- Select ‘ZP’ and enter your PCN reference number which can be found on your PCN. Then enter your appeal AND attach a clear image of your valid blue badge. NCP can then validate this and subsequently cancel all PCNs which have been issued to your vehicle. Alternatively, you can email Appeals@NCP.co.uk and attach an image of your blue badge.
- If you have received a PCN and have already paid a PCN and hold a valid blue badge:
- Email Appeals@NCP.co.uk and attach an image of your blue badge. NCP can then validate this and subsequently cancel all PCNs which have been issued to your vehicle.
Include the following in the subject of any appeal email regarding the above:
“Northampton Blue Badge appeal - <Insert PCN reference>, <Insert Vehicle Registration Number>”
2) If you have received a PCN and are n’t o blue badge holder:
-If you have received a PCN go online (www.NCP.co.uk/PCN) and either pay, or appeal your PCN if you feel it has been incorrectly issued (i.e. you did pay for your parking). You can also pay your PCN by phone by calling 0333 023 0498 which is our automated payment system. For more information on payments and appeals please view the back of your PCN letter.