A national car parking firm has agreed to refund more than 150 blue badge holders slapped with extortionate parking fines in Northampton because of its inadequate signage.
Over the past fortnight, some £20,000 worth of fixed penalty notices have been dished out to largely disabled and elderly drivers using St Peter's Way car park in the town centre.
The facility, now operated by National Car Parks (NCP), previously allowed blue badge holders to park there for free when it was run by the council - but the rules were changed in September when the incoming firm turned on its numberplate recognition cameras.
Many drivers have been fined multiple times under the new tariffs because, they say, the new signs simply do not make it clear that blue badge holders now have to pay.
A new overnight tariff had also caught out dozens of people using the Pure Gym there in the early morning, with one user claiming to have been fined 21 times.
But today - following numerous appeals by the Chronicle and Echo, a cohort of fined drivers who joined a Facebook group, a 200-name petition and pleas by members of Northampton Borough Council - our joint efforts have scored a win.
NCP has today agreed to pay back all of those blue badge holders hit with fines up until October 13 - and waive the fines of those whose appeals are still pending.
A spokeswoman for the firm said: "Cancellations, for PCNs issued to disabled motorists up until October 13th, will be completed on receipt of evidence that the motorist holds a valid blue badge and all correspondence regarding these must be received by November 9th 2018.
"This gesture for our disabled customers is made with consideration that they have been historically used to free parking on this particular car park and parked without realising, or reading the new signage that informed them that parking charges now apply."
If you have received a fine at Northampton St Peters Way, and are a blue badge holder:
You can 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:
Please 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.
You must include the following in the subject line of any appeal email regarding the above:
“Northampton Blue Badge appeal - <Insert PCN reference>, <Insert Vehicle Registration Number>”