A councillor has spoken out after blue badge holders got tickets for parking in disabled spaces on NHS land.
According to Sean McDonald, residents were going to see Worthing Symphony Orchestra’s Viennese Whirls of Delight at Worthing Assembly Hall in Stoke Abbott Road, Worthing, on January 6.
They parked their cars in disabled bays outside the Health Central Surgery nearby – but when they went back to their cars in the interval, 45 minutes later, they had been given parking tickets.
This was because the spaces were for visitors to the health centre only – despite the centre being closed on Sundays, Mr McDonald said.
The angry residents approached Sean, who is a trustee of the orchestra as well as a Worthing Borough councillor, who took on their dispute. According to him, parking tickets were also issued here at the orchestra’s November concert.
He described the parking signage as ‘not clear’, adding: “The ticketing of disabled vehicles in this manner is disgraceful, especially as it is on NHS property where they should have more sympathy and the disabled bays are not being used on a Sunday.”
The Northbrook ward councillor approached Sussex Community Foundation Trust (SCFT), a division of the NHS which owns the land, and One Parking Solution, whose enforcement officers issue parking fines on the site, about the incident.
He claimed the NHS trust doubled down on the parking officers’ actions, saying they had done the right thing.
He said SCFT and the parking company 'showed a distinct lack of humanity' by giving tickets to 'the most vulnerable people in our community and should be ashamed'.
He added: “I will be asking them to reverse this appalling policy.”
A spokesman for the foundation trust said: “We know how difficult parking can be, especially in busy town centre locations.
“There are rules in force at our sites across Sussex because our health care professionals work 24-hours a day, seven days a week and need to be able to access our buildings at all times.
“In this case, as a gesture of good will to the volunteer and service users involved we will overturn the ticket on appeal.
“However, we want to be clear that the parking restrictions at our sites remain in force.”