A professor of criminology from Sheffield received a £60 parking fine after he took his parents for a meal in a restaurant in Spanish City, Whitley Bay. Philip Hodgson’s 84-tear-old stepmother suffers from Parkinson’s and possesses a blue badge.
On top of that, Mr Hodgson’s 87-year-old father has a degenerative eye disease.
The 57-year-old professor used his stepmother’s badge as the trio enjoyed their meal in a fish and chips restaurant.
However, to his surprise, he received a £60 fine a couple of weeks later.
Mr Hodgson claimed he did not believe he needed to pay to use the disabled bay on June 3 as they are usually free of charge.
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He said that the couple had visited Spanish City before and had parked in the disabled bay without any issue.
Mr Hodgson said: “They are Whitley Bay residents and have parked on-site using their blue badge previously.
“The whole point I have been making to the guy at Spanish City is I don’t want anybody else to fall foul of this. I won’t go back, I think there’s more friendly places.”
A spokesperson for HX Car Park Management said: “There is a sign in front of the disabled bays to state that the tariff applies to blue badge holders.
“It also states in the ‘Blue Badge Rights and Responsibilities’ leaflet issued by the Government that blue badge holders are still required to check signage in all car parks, especially private ones, and should not assume that they can park for free.
“Our entry sign notifies all drivers that they are entering private land.”
The company has urged those who do not want to pay for disabled bays to park in the nearby car park operated by North Tyneside Council.
They said: “There is a council car park to the right of Spanish City Plaza that offers free parking for blue badge holders.
“If they do not wish to pay to park, which is understandable, they have the option to park there. It is not unusual for private car parks to charge for disabled drivers; most do.”
Spanish City said the car park was granted planning permission by the local authority.
It said that signs are visible in the car park and throughout the area.
A spokesperson said: “The car park at Spanish City is a private car park managed by HX Car Park Management Ltd, which uses an ANPR camera system to identify users of the car park and was installed in March 2022.
“In line with the planning permission that was granted by North Tyneside Council earlier this year, there is clear signage present throughout the car park (including a sign immediately in front of the disabled bays) stating the parking tariff applies to Blue Badge Holders.
“In addition to signage throughout the car park, signage has also been placed throughout Spanish City with the same information. The parking charge notice is £60 if paid within 28 days and increases to £100 thereafter.”
A spokesperson from North Tyneside Council added: “HX Parking are responsible for the private parking lot at Spanish City. It is not within the Council’s remit of planning to review the content of signage, the fees charged or how the system is used by HX Parking. Blue badge holders can find free disabled parking bays in the Council run parking lot to the right hand side upon entering Spanish City.”