Author Topic: Halton Hospital FOI reveals Highview Parking Ltd could reap £1.27m in a year  (Read 3198 times)

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Offline Web Admin

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More reports of shocking cases emerge in Halton Hospital trust parking debacle as FOI data reveals contractor could reap up to £1.27m in a year

Mother with blood clot's husband, bereaved uncle, fire service, woman who did not even park car and nurse who worked late among those wrongly penalised says councillor

A WHOPPING 4,229 parking fines have been issued at Halton and Warrington hospitals since a controversial charging regime took effect just three months ago.

Freedom Of Information data acquired by Halton Lead ward councillor Dave Thompson also revealed that of those, 789 appealed and won.

Most of the fixed penalty notices (FPN) issued by car park contractor Highview Parking were at Warrington Hospital (4,061) while 168 were at Halton General.

All of the fines were imposed between March 3 and May 31.

The parking charge and fines system, which uses automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) technology to photograph vehicles entering and exiting, came into force at Halton General on April 1.

At a charge of £40 each, rising to £75 on non-initial payment, the figures suggest that patients and visitors to the two sites would be due to cough up between £676,640. and £1,268,700 in a year.

More first-hand accounts of the range of patients and visitors targeted by the system have also emerged.

Cllr Thompson said they include:

A father from Halton View in Widnes whose pregnant partner needed treatment for a suspected blood clot who was slapped with tickets at both hospitals. Upon calling the hospital to complain he was told ‘you’re the fifth one to phone today’. He had paid at both sites.

A nurse who stayed late at work.

A mother rushed to Warrington accident and emergency with her child needing treatment but also with her active three-year-old in tow. Distressed and needing to look after her children she forgot to pay. Cllr Thompson said that had she gone to Whiston she would have been spared a fine as she would not have been able to leave without paying because Whiston has a barrier in place.

A driver with a blue badge could not find anywhere to park so pulled up next to the Appleton Wing at Warrington so his disabled wife, who walks with a frame, could be near the entrance. Highview rejected his appeal.

A Cheshire Fire And Rescue Service vehicle, which the organisation successfully appealed. This has been confirmed by the fire service.

A Halton Borough Council officer attending a 5 Boroughs NHS Trust meeting at the Brooker Centre and who was told ‘not to bother paying’ because of a lack of signs.

Cllr Thompson added that repeated complaints relate to visitors who have bought tickets but thrown them away because their trip to hospital was more than two weeks ago, hence they are unable to pay.

A woman told Cllr Thompson she visited Hallwood Health Centre, which is nearby but not on Halton General land, and on the day she drove twice along the service road toward the ambulance station and was slapped with a fine on the first and fourth activation of the ANPR. Cllr Thompson stressed that she did not even visit the hospital or park her car.

The Weekly News has also received further complaints from residents including Hough Green resident Albie Williamson who had visited Warrington Hospital to visit a sick family member, only to overstay longer than expected because he arrived to find they had passed away. Mr Williamson had paid for his ticket covering the time he was there though, and won on appeal. But he was shocked at being slapped with a fine at such a sensitive time.

Richard Worrall, 53, also of Widnes, attended Warrington for treatment of a broken leg. Again he had paid his £3 to park and has since appealed. He is awaiting a decision from Highview Parking.

Cllr Thompson, who last week also slammed Halton General for still having a sign threatening wheel clamping despite the practice being outlawed three years ago, said: “Each and every day Halton residents are being hit with countless £75 notices, which cause upset, distress and needless expense if they are intimidated into paying.

“In some cases vulnerable and innocent people are falling victim to this Barnet-based firm accept a reduced £40 charge to settle it.”

The Weekly News has made repeated requests to Highview Parking for comment.

Offline DastardlyDick

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Thought this might be of interest (courtesy of the Parking Prankster):-

"This information may be of considerable interest to people facing PCNs at Halton Hospital.
1] Halton Council has confirmed this week that the ANPR Camera operated at the Hospital Way entrance is located on adopted Council owned land, not on Hospital land.
 2] Hospital Way also has adopted status as far as to extend to the main Phase 1 entrance of the hospital. In effect any enforcement on Hospital Way is being carried out on Council land.
 3] The Council has given no permission for Highview Parking Limited to undertake parking control or enforcement on the Councils' land or install ANPR on Council land.
These three  matters could have serious consequences for the Trust and Highview Parking but most importantly for motorists you if you have had a PCN. The surveillance coverage of the camera at the Hospital Way entrance is capturing images of drivers on the adopted highway and the value of the images to prove you were on Hospital land is now open to question. This also means that if your car was pictured on Hospital Way the parking company have retrieved personal data on you doing no more than lawfully driving on the highway. For all Highview knows you were simply parked in Hospital Way and you did not overstay at all.
Guidance in Schedule 4 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012: Recovery of Unpaid Parking Charge, Section 4.1 states, ‘The provisions in Schedule 4 are intended to apply only on private land in England and Wales. Public highways are excluded as well as any parking places on public land which are either provided or controlled by a local authority (or other government body)’. In other words Highview have absolutely no rights to issue PCNs if you were on Council owned adopted highway.
The BPA Approved Operator Scheme ‘Code of Practice Control and enforcement of parking on private land and unregulated public car parks’ Version 4 – February 2014. Section 7.1 of the Code of Practice requires landowners consent and it is now evident that Highview Parking do not have Halton Council’s permission to undertake parking enforcement on those areas of hospital grounds for which the Council is responsible or to photograph vehicles on the public highway. We must all await to see how the Trust reacts to this information but it must seriously undermine the issuing of PCNs at Halton Hospital."

In short, it would appear that the wea$els are using an ANPR Camera which shouldn't even be there to issue "fines", some of which may be issued to people who have parked on the public highway where they have no jurisdiction.
« Last Edit: 15 July, 2015, 11:20:45 AM by DastardlyDick »

Offline BGB

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Parking firm suspended by DVLA over Halton Hospital car park farce
« Reply #2 on: 15 July, 2015, 01:58:39 PM »
Parking firm suspended by DVLA over Halton Hospital car park farce (accodring to the Liverpool Echo)

HIGHVIEW Parking has been suspended from collecting data on motorists visiting Halton General Hospital in Runcorn.
The DVLA also confirmed in writing to Cllr Dave Thompson, Halton Lea ward, that it has launched an investigation over the matter.
The letter said it was suspending Highview’s access to the DVLA driver database ‘due to the serious nature of the complaint’.
Cllr Thompson had written to the DVLA in relation to a case of a woman from Runcorn who had not even visited the hospital but only driven past.
Blocking the company means the firm cannot send fines to motorists.
The agency told the councillor it aims to provide a comprehensive response within 10 days.
Mr Thompson, Labour, described the DVLA’s bombshell move as the ‘temporary downfall’ of Highview Parking.
Hospital bosses hope the issue will 'be concluded as soon as possible'.
A Warrington And Halton Hospitals NHS Foundation trust spokesman said: "Highview Parking have confirmed that they have received a DVLA request to temporarily hold any requests made for alleged parking infringements at Halton General.
"This is as a consequence of the issues raised with ourselves and the DVLA which we have been actively looking at and discussing with Halton Borough Council to resolve any concerns.
"We hope this will be concluded as soon as possible. It does not affect the Warrington Hospital site.”


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