Private parking company charged ex-cop £100 for 36 second stop

Richard Vincent got a parking charge for picking his wife up from the hospital and stopping for 36 seconds

Richard Vincent got a parking charge for picking his wife up from the hospital and stopping for 36 seconds - Credit: Richard Vincent

A private parking company has been branded a "bully" after bombarding hospital patients and a taxi firm with droves of weekly charges. 

National Parking Enforcement hit retired police officer Richard Vincent with a charge when he picked his wife Kerry up from the Norfolk and Norwich Hospital, stopping for just 36 seconds on Rosalind Franklin Road.

Mr Vincent appealed his £60 charge with NPE with the Independent Appeals Service, arguing the signs were not clearly displayed and impossible to read while driving. 

However this was rejected and the charge was hiked up to £100.

NPE was contacted for comment but did not respond.

Mr Vincent said: "How can you comprehend parking conditions when you're there for 36 seconds?

"They're just bullies, and it's daylight robbery."

This week mum-of-two Megan Edmonds revealed her fury at being slapped with two fines in one day despite never actually parking.

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The problem is even worse for a Norwich taxi firm owner who's received "hundreds" over the years — and at least four every week.

The owner, who asked not to be named, has only paid a handful in his time when he admitted the firm was "obviously" in the wrong.

He said: "We've got to drop patients off where they need to be. 

"We don't ignore the charges, we just reply outlining why we clearly shouldn't have to pay. After that point I usually hear nothing more, or if I do I ignore it.

"If it ever did have to go to court I'm certain the case against me would be thrown out.

"But I know that if the charge relates to one of my drivers stopping for nine seconds to drop a patient off, or to let someone over a Zebra crossing, there's no way NPE will take us to court in the first place."

According to Edmund King, president of the AA, drivers enter into a civil contract with companies if private road signs are displayed and understood. 

But if drivers don't see the signs, they were confusing or drivers were "dropping someone off" and not actually parking, they have grounds to argue the contract doesn't apply.

David Powles writes about his weekend at the N&N.

David Powles writes about his weekend at the N&N. - Credit: Nick Butcher

  • What happens if I don't pay the parking charge? 

AA president Edmund King added: "With these companies it's a game of numbers. They fire out 60 of these charges in one go and hope 20 end up paying."

Here's what he said you should do if you receive one:

  • If you stop on a private road you should follow the rules and pay fees if requested (especially if you stop for a long period of time)
  • But if you are penalised for a tiny infringement, or the signs are unclear, you should "definitely" challenge it
  • If the parking company dismisses your appeal (which it is in their vested interests to do), as well as the Independent Appeals Service, you can try appealing directly to the landowner
  • But if they keep insisting you pay and you are eventually threatened with being taken to county court, you'd have good grounds to take the company to the small claims court/Parking on Private Land Appeals ombudsman