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Pensioner taken to court in Norwich hospital parking row

PUBLISHED: 14:00 03 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:22 02 July 2010

Pensioner Tony Brown who was fined £45 for parking illegally at Norwich's flagship hospital when visiting his injured wife

Pensioner Tony Brown who was fined £45 for parking illegally at Norwich's flagship hospital when visiting his injured wife

Kate Scotter

A pensioner has spoken of how he was made to feel like a criminal after he was taken to court because he could not find anywhere to park at Norwich's flagship hospital.

Kate Scotter

A pensioner has spoken of how he was made to feel like a criminal after he was taken to court because he could not find anywhere to park at Norwich's flagship hospital.

As recently reported in the Evening News, the parking situation at the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital is nearing “breaking point” with people missing appointments as they struggle to park their cars.

The hospital has 854 parking spaces allocated to the public but about two million vehicles use the car parks a year.

Hospital bosses have admitted that the car parks overflow regularly but there are no plans to increase their size. Instead, people have been encouraged to use public transport.

Since the Evening News reported the problem, Tony Brown, 72, from Sprowston, has revealed how he paid out £45 from his pension after he could not find a parking space when his wife, Rosemary, was rushed into hospital with a broken hip.

He said: “My wife is a volunteer helper and she had gone off on her bike but came to grief on some black ice.

“Someone had told me she had an accident and I found her there lying on the ground with a paramedic. An ambulance came and took her to the hospital while I took the bike back home and then got in my car and rushed to the hospital.

“I was very worried about her, I had left her in great pain by the side of the road - she's in her mid-sixties and it was a really nasty fall.

“I couldn't find anywhere to park at the hospital and there was no security man to direct me anywhere else. I parked on a grass verge, well off the road and headed into the hospital to see her. When I got back to my car, I had a £30 fine.”

Mr Brown, who lives in North Walsham Road, said he decided not to pay the fine straightaway but instead chose to contest it at court.

“I had to stand there and be made to feel like a criminal,” he said. “The magistrates came in and I told them my story. I said we were only on a basic pension and I had to pay to keep my house warm but they slapped me with a £45 fine.”

He said where he had parked on that morning, which was when there was icy weather near Christmas time, did not have yellow lines but had small round signs which mean “clearway”.

As reported, there are 25pc more outpatients at the N&N than there were when the car park was built almost 10 years ago but the number of spaces has not changed.

A spokesman for the hospital said parking on a clearway for emergency vehicles was not defensible.

He said: “There are lots of options for people to get to the hospital.

“All the car parking is free for the first half hour, there's park and ride which is cheap and if you are a pensioner then you're entitled to free bus travel.

“It's not acceptable to park illegally on areas that have to be kept clear for emergency vehicles.”

Have you had problems parking at the N&N? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1RE or email eveningnewsletters@archant.co.uk

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