Driver calls for ‘misleading’ sign to be changed after parking fine

Valerie Hitchon, 64, received the parking fine on October 31.
Valerie Hitchon, 64, received the parking fine on October 31.

A woman from Worthing has been left ‘disgusted’ after being issued a £50 fine for parking in a disabled space – despite having a blue badge.

Valerie Hitchon, 64, of Broadwater Road, received the fine on October 31, in the Union Place Car Park. She had not bought a ticket as she presumed it was free for disabled users.

She had parked in the disabled bay to pick up her husband, who has had the badge for more than 15 years, due to struggling to walk.

“I was disgusted and shocked by the fine as I had parked in the car park many times before and not received any fines,” said Valerie.

She added: “It is a lot of money and I feel for all disabled users out there, especially those on disabled benefits who may not be able to afford this fine. Why do NCP feel they can take this money away from them.”

After receiving the fine, Mrs Hitchon, who is retired, noticed the car park sign was ‘unclear’ and ‘misleading’ for disabled users. The sign currently states that normal charges ‘may apply’ for disabled users, who ‘must display a blue badge’.

“It is not advertised correctly and this sign should be changed,” said Valerie, who has since written an appeal letter to NCP.

Mrs Hitchon said she ‘hopes the fine is cancelled’ and ‘enquiries are made to put the situation right and the parking rules are properly confirmed’. She has also written to Tim Loughton, MP for Worthing East and Shoreham. The MP said he ‘shared the concerns of Mrs Hitchon’ and ‘blue badge holders may be unwittingly incurring penalties’. He added: “I have written to NCP and I am awaiting a response.”

A spokeswoman from NCP said the majority of their car parks charge disabled drivers and ‘users must display a blue badge and pay for parking’. She added: “We apologise for any concern that we have caused to this customer. We do take all feedback on board and will revisit the signage to see if there are any improvements we can add.”

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