Page last updated at 16:33 GMT, Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Hospital parking fines challenged

Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital
The appeals firm said staff may be able to claim parking permit refunds

Parking fines totalling thousands of pounds issued to drivers at a Devon hospital are being challenged.

Parking Appeals Limited has complained about the fines at the Royal Devon and Exeter (RD&E) Hospital. It is also questioning staff permit charges.

If proven, it could lead to nearly £180,000 being reclaimed by motorists who have paid fines.

Exeter City Council, which runs the hospital parking, believes it has acted correctly and is seeking legal advice.

Parking Appeals Ltd was set up by Neil Herron to challenge "unfair" parking charges and enforcement.

It may well be the traffic order has not been correctly drafted and the provisions have not been met
Neil Herron
Parking Appeals Ltd

Mr Herron told BBC News the issue over the fines at the RD&E rested on the legality of a traffic order.

"It appears every single fine issued on hospital car park land from 5 May 2008 has been incorrectly issued, so the scale runs into tens of thousands of pounds," he said.

"It all goes back to a traffic order created in 1994 and it may well be the traffic order has not been correctly drafted and the provisions have not been met."

Mr Herron said if there was no provision within the traffic order to charge hospital employees for parking permits, staff at the RD&E could also be entitled to refunds.

Exeter City Council said it was looking into a "number of complex questions" raised by Mr Herron.

Appeals process

In a statement, the council said: "We believe that we have acted correctly throughout and we will respond to the detailed matters raised by Mr Herron in due course.

"The cost of a standard charge at the RD&E is £40.00, which is discounted to £20.00 if paid within five working days.

"There is an appeals process in place for those who feel they have been issued with a standard charge incorrectly or unjustly, and each case is treated on its merits."

The council said it currently had no process in place for dealing with refund requests as it had yet to receive independent expert legal advice on the matter.

The Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust said it had not received any complaints about the parking enforcement arrangement at the hospital.



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