Older couple with disabled pass shocked to receive fine after parking at Burgess Hill shopping centre: visitors urged to re-register their details for new system
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Keith Jayne, 87, and his wife Patsy, 75, of Blackhouse Lane, received a Parking Charge Notice in the post on Monday, November 27, after parking in Market Place Shopping Centre’s car park.
The fine, which was issued on November 22 and has since been cancelled, was for ‘failure to pay parking’ between 10.48am and 11.40am on November 15.
Patsy told the Middy she thought it was unfair because Keith had previously registered as disabled with the shopping centre.
She said: “We had registered with the management way back so we weren’t expecting that.”
After the fine, Patsy was told by staff at Market Place Shopping Centre that the parking had recently been taken over by management agents Bank Park.
She said: “Afterwards, I did notice there is a blue sign up there that says disabled cars need to register but I only noticed it last week.”
Patsy said she and her husband did not realise they had to re-register Keith’s disabled status with Bank Park and thought the shopping centre would pass the information on. She said: “We didn't know there was another company there. I knew that the payment meters had been put elsewhere but, as we don't have to pay, it didn't connect.”
Patsy is concerned others could be in the same position and could receive a fine too. She said: “There could be even more if they’re doing this now and people don’t realise they’ve got to re-register.”
Since the couple spoke to the Middy, their daughter has appealed and Bank Park has cancelled the fine.
A Bank Park spokesperson said: “We have an appeals process in place, which is demonstrated on the PCN that is issued. We are a fair and ethical car parking operator, the appeals team would thoroughly investigate the appeal, and should they see that a blue badge holder as made a genuine mistake or struggled to register they would act with compassion and come to a fair resolution.”
Bank Park said the main car park is now enforced by ANPR cameras, which take static images of vehicle registrations as they enter and leave. This information is collaborated against the registration entered at ticket machines, online, or the blue badge registration point.
The spokesperson said: “The ANPR cameras cannot differentiate whether someone has a blue badge or not, therefore that is why the blue badge must be registered at the kiosk with the vehicle registration to exempt them from a PCN being issued. Once the vehicle has been registered against the blue badge the vehicle does not need to be registered again.”
Bank Park said the new scheme started on May 8 with new signage and new machines at the main entrance. They said there is a sign asking people to register their blue badge at the car park entrance and said more than 1,000 blue badge holders have registered for free parking so far. They said the system did not go live until October 1 to give people time to register their Blue Badges.
They added: “The previous parking operator would not have been able to transfer personal data to ourselves as this would be a breach of data and break GDPR regulations.”