A charity volunteer was hit with a £170 fine after parking up to take a disabled man to his hospital appointment in Manchester.
John Ling, 77, was initially slapped with a £70 fine for taking 10 minutes to drop off a patient outside Manchester Royal Eye Hospital, but was later upped after losing his appeal.
The retired teacher, who is a volunteer driver who takes children, disabled and elderly people to medical appointments, says he was forced to park outside the main entrance because no other spaces were available.
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He says he took the wheelchair-bound man to his appointment on the first floor and returned to his car within 10 minutes, only to find he'd got a ticket – despite having an NHS patient transport sign on his windscreen.
Mr Ling appealed the fine and the boss of Being There, the charity he was volunteering for at the time, also wrote in his support, describing Mr Ling as a 'highly dedicated, compassionate volunteer, who gives up his time to support others'
But a few weeks ago he heard back saying his appeal had been rejected and the fine had even been upped to £170.
Mr Ling was warned that if he didn't stump up the cash he could be subject to 'High Court or bailiff action', but he still refused to pay and would take the incident to court to fight his case.
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He said: "I couldn't drive around looking for a vacant space, because there were none. It seems to me the parking companies exists to make money by fining people – the hospital doesn't benefit as far as I can tell.”
However, after being contacted by fellow Reach title M.E.N, Parkingeye has said it will now cancel the charge 'as a gesture of good will'.
Mr Ling added: "I'm sort of amazed really. I thought they were going to be completely ruthless. The reason I was pressing on with it was because I wanted to challenge this sort of blank attitude they have."
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A spokesperson for Parkingeye said: "The motorist parked in a designated hatched area that is strictly reserved and provides access for emergency vehicles only, he therefore correctly received a parking charge. Parkingeye operates a British Parking Association audited appeals process, which motorists can use to appeal their parking charge.
"If anyone has mitigating circumstances, we would encourage them to highlight this by appealing. Mr Ling chose to appeal to POPLA, the independent body which reviews all cases, which upheld the decision. However as a gesture of good will, on this occasion only, we are prepared to cancel the charge."
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A spokesperson for Manchester Universities NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the eye hospital, said: "It's really important for health and safety to ensure the hatched areas at our hospitals are clear at all times. Most of the charities which have volunteers delivering patients are very aware of this.
"As a gesture of good faith on this occasion, we'll ensure that Mr Ling isn't left out of pocket. We'll also write to Being There to make sure going forwards they have the key contact within the Trust who can help facilitate car parking arrangements in our sites.
"Furthermore, MFT has various exemptions in place for staff, patients and visitors. In the event a parking charge is issued, we work closely with our Parkingeye colleagues to take in to account the circumstances of our service users at appeal stage. Should any of our service users have a car parking issue, we encourage them to notify us through our Patient Advice and Liaison Service so we can resolve it as swiftly as possible."
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