Fight is far from over for gym users facing Â£100 fines at Northampton car park
Gym members and taxi drivers still facing extortionate parking fines at a Northampton car park have called for the company running it to extend their recent refund gesture.
Over the past three weeks, 170 users of the St Peter's Way car park have come forward to complain of being issued a parking ticket there - completely unaware that new charges had been put in place.
The previously council-run car park offered free parking to blue badge holders and did not charge overnight. But it was taken over by National Car Parks (NCP) in September, which introduced a new set of charges and a camera system to catch those who had not paid.
Dozens of people contacted the Chronicle and Echo to complain that the signage did not make it clear a new tariff was in force - and last week their campaign scored a victory.
NCP agreed to offer a refund to all blue badge holders stung with a fine up until October 13 as "a gesture of goodwill" because they had been "historically used to free parking."
But dozens of early morning Pure Gym users believe the refunds should be offered to them too and a splinter Facebook group, 'St Peters Car Park _ Gym Members', has been set up to fight their cause.
Founder of the new group Carol Halloran, has eight outstanding fines - but her appeals have all been rejected.
She said: "There are lots of us in the same boat - I know one person with 10 tickets, another girl with six. I know someone who was in the car park for four to five minutes to drop someone off who got fined."
Like the blue badge holders, the gym members say the change to the parking tariff was not made explicit.
In fact, on at least one sign, the overnight charge tariff was covered with a yellow sticker up until the charges came into force on September 18.
"My first fine was on the 18th of September," continued Carol. "But I didn't get a letter until October 4.
"They have allowed me to park there for 14 days potentially without being aware."
NCP, which maintains its signage is adequate for the car park, is preparing a response to the gym users.
Meanwhile, Shellie Batchelor - who has been helping to run a campaign on behalf of the blue badge holders fined at St Peter's Way - says she will still be campaigning for the signs to be improved at St Peter's Way.
And she is calling on NCP to make contact with those eligible to have their charge waived on appeal, as many of the elderly and disabled people hit do not have access to the internet.
"We are still trying to ensure that the correct signage is put in place," she said. "Especially around the disabled bays - that is something we will continue to push for."
DETAILS OF HOW TO APPEAL:
If you have received a PCN at Northampton St Peters Way, and are a blue badge holder, 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 [email protected] 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 holder email [email protected] 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 - , ”