When You Play The Game Of Courts, You Win, Or You Go Bust…

Staff at University Hospital of Wales lost a legal fight over the unpaid tickets and are now being hit with huge bills by the car park’s private operator.
One nurse owes £150,000 in outstanding fines after a court ruled £128 must be paid for every unpaid ticket, plus £26,000 in court fees.

This is, of course, the insistence of the town planners that people should use public transport, because sufficient parking was never provided:

The hospital has 6,000 staff but the car park has only 1,800 spaces, so many have to park in spots reserved for visitors.

Now, not all of those staff will be shift workers unable to use public transport. But a significant percentage would be, and that should have been foreseen. So they have some sympathy here.

Staff, some of whom earn just £15,100, decided they would veto payment of any fines in protest at the lack of space.

And that’s when I lose any sympathy. Particularly if any of them enthusiastically voted for the ‘green’ policies that inevitably lead to consequences like this.

The ruling by District Judge Clare Coates comes after a three day trial at Cardiff Civil Justice Centre.

The case involved three workers Stephen Dadswell, Emily Booth and Sophie Round – who parking contractor Indigo say have each racked up more than 100 parking tickets.

But the three NHS workers are part of a larger group of workers with unpaid tickets – and the hearing was seen as a test case for other staff who have also failed to pay.
Judge Coates’ ruling means each unpaid ticket can be collected for £128 – amounting to a total of £39,000. She also ordered the group will have to pay £29,000 costs.

You took a gamble and you lost. Any decent legal consultant would have warned you that was a possibility. Pay up!

Speaking after the judgement, healthcare support worker Sophie Round, said: ‘I am gutted.

Campaigner Sue Prior said the ruling is ‘devastating’ for doctors and nurses

‘It’s not really the outcome that we wanted and what we earn doesn’t really cover the fines.’

‘They have permitted a private parking company to do this. There is no common sense anywhere.

‘At the moment we just need to sit back and assess what we are going to do because it costs money to appeal. It was like David and Goliath – and David lost.’

Doesn’t sound as if Sue had any skin in the game. She’s not on the hook for the fines. Maybe founding the ‘Taff Ely Parking Action Group’, established to offer assistance to staff with this matter, seemed like a great idea to her. After all, NHS staff are feted in the press and media, so who could gainsay them when they decided not to abide by the rules everyone else has to follow?

Well, the courts could. And did.

20 comments for “When You Play The Game Of Courts, You Win, Or You Go Bust…

  1. Mudplugger
    July 28, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Agreeing with the point, but there is a background issue here.

    Which planning idiots, in the 1960s with the M4 already planned around the edge of Cardiff, decided to build a huge 1,000 bed hospital in the middle of the city’s built-up area, allegedly to ‘serve the whole of Wales’? Access and parking were always going to become major issues, so why didn’t they build it on acres of open, green land close to the M4 route, with room to grow and no surrounding constraints?

    This is repeated in many cities, where they have still not learnt that hospitals need mass vehicular access, so build them where the ambulances, cars, trucks, and buses can get to them efficiently.
    Only a handful of patients or staff will ever live close to the hospital, so build them where the majority of staff, outpatients and visitors, can access them. And then this daft type of case would evaporate.

    • Errol
      July 28, 2017 at 8:41 pm

      I give you… Southampton General hospital.

      Most town planners, certainly for infrastructure; are gormless turks who give no thought to what the other hand is doing.

  2. SteveA
    July 28, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Still trying to work out how one nurse can owe 150000, that’s 970 tickets in 15 months

    • Errol
      July 28, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      I think it’s divided over the three of them.

      Either way the issue isn’t the nurses, it is how the state can levy fines against the staff we employ on land we own and built for them. It’s ours, and they really need to be bluntly reminded of this and should they disagree, they find themselves kicked out the door of state employment forever.

  3. July 28, 2017 at 2:23 pm

    I wonder how this will affect people in general. Most folk are of the opinion that you can ignore private parking companies as their tickets are not enforceable by law.

  4. Penseivat
    July 28, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    Bucko,
    I believe they have signs claiming that if they use that car park they are agreeing to abide by their terms and conditions. I know our local hospital has something similar, though an internal dispute ended with owed fees being written off as the nurses and cleaning staff said they would resign from their jobs, leaving very few medical staff and hundreds of patients. One nurse agreed to pay the same parking fees as the hospital CEO and management board who, of course, had free, allocated, parking spaces. It was kept very quiet and there was a non-disclosure condition on the agreement, but on this occasion it was a victory for common sense over legislation, unlike the Cardiff saga.

    • Errol
      July 28, 2017 at 8:43 pm

      And a clear sign that those ‘managers’ should be sacked and removed from office. They either work as the rest of the staff do or they leave.

      Our CTO wanted his own space. He thought he was special. So those who arrived first disabused him of that rapidly by blocking him in.

  5. The Jannie
    July 28, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Meanwhile, what the NHS laughingly call “managers”sit back in their – mostly irrelevant – “management” suites and think “Whew, that bit of privatisation got us nicely off the hook . . .

  6. Errol
    July 28, 2017 at 8:31 pm

    The hospital trust decided to levy fines on property paid for by the tax payer and used by the tax payer to visit friends and family when they are ill, on a site owned and paid for by the tax payer and staffed with employees of the tax payer.

    The hospital thought this double dipping of fees – to take even more money from their employer and income source a good wheeze. Now, those same employees decided that they didn’t like the greed of the hospital and flouted it and got caught, costing the tax payer vast amounts of money.

    Now, if the employer had been allowed a say the servants (the hospital) would not be able to charge them for using their own property that they’ve built and paid for. Should said servants try, the employer, the tax payer promptly sacks is greedy staff.

    Does no one else see the problem? We pay for the service provision and we then are forced, by people we employ to pay for it again, despite paying for it regularly every single month in offensive levels of tax.

    It’s being forced to pay the help to come back into your home after you’ve paid them to clean it.

    • cornishstu
      July 28, 2017 at 9:24 pm

      This has always been my argument, councils etc are employed by the tax payer to look after our assets, it is akin to employing a gardener and they then charging you for the privilege of using it

      • Errol
        July 28, 2017 at 10:07 pm

        Yup. The tax payer paid for the infrastructure and and for the maintenance of it – although councillors refute that tax is actually for services, preferring to pocket it – the idea of having to pay to use something not only already paid for and regularly paid for again is ludicrous.

  7. JS
    July 29, 2017 at 3:09 am

    An out of town hospital near me has seriously inadequate parking which is always not only full of parked cars but full of more people in cars circling hoping for someone to more before they are late for an appointment.
    A farmer opened up one of his fields opposite for reasonably priced all day parking (out of sight of the road so not even a visual blight). Not only did the council go after him in court and closed him down (who expects anything better of councils?) but so did the bastard hospital – can’t have their staff and patients’ lives being made a bit easier can they?
    Now the street parking outside the hospital, where there are no houses, has been severely cut down with new yellow lines. That means that residential streets half a mile and more away, once empty during the day, are now packed.
    Far from “encouraging” people to use cars less, they are using them more as they circle the area looking for somewhere to park.
    It’s impossible to see who – other than a handful of deluded eco-fascists – thinks that all this is a good idea.

  8. July 29, 2017 at 4:04 am

    Lack of nearby parking is hell for fat people and smokers.

  9. July 29, 2017 at 7:16 am

    Economics is the science of scarcity [of parking spaces].

  10. Hereward Unbowed.
    July 29, 2017 at 8:58 am

    Having spent many days and at different ossy’s ferrying dear ones and friends in and out of cancer wards and the like, I know to our cost what a nightmare it is parking in inner city Hospitals – try Jimmy’s and LGI Leeds to see what I mean.

    you can’t say they weren’t warned!

    There is a glorious whiff, a sense of Schedenfreude to all of this, though I have to sympathize a certain extent with the NHS staff, but then so many of them act like they are something special category and all praise should be heaped and us lowly mortals [yeah mortal in all senses] should weep in our gratitude that the Gods tend us, all that time and effort, how do they do it?

    Finally, these “puny” salaries, wages can’t be so bad if, they all can afford to buy and run cars…………

    • Dr Evil
      July 30, 2017 at 12:09 pm

      The LGI was like that over 40 years ago when I was at Leeds medical school. The one close to the LGI. As a student it was easy. The staff had problems back then but on road parking wasn’t buggered up by yellow lines.

  11. Bob H
    July 29, 2017 at 2:53 pm

    About 15 years ago I bought an existing rural industrial property for an extension for my manufacturing business.
    As it was in a different business sector I needed different planning consent.

    That’s where the nightmare started.

    The local planning office decided that the factory floor area X would employ Y personnel, and that meant Z cars.
    Thus the car park would need extending and be marked accordingly. There would also be an absolute prohibition in parking on the village roads outside the factory.
    Except that such thinking bore no connection to the real world of my business.
    In one department, my various bits of machinery were massive and needed a small staff to operate.
    In the other department the machinery was automatic and once set would operate 24hrs a day unmanned apart from supervision.
    My staff levels would be less that one fifth of what they claimed.

    I could not budge them from this idiotic stance.

    To make it even worse, the County Council road traffic people also got involved.

    In order to fulfil their green agenda they wanted to restrict parking spaces to 20% below staff car numbers in order to force staff to use public transport.

    What made matters worse was that they also demanded I paid and built a layby and bus stop for the specific use of the staff. Problem was that there was no bus service, nor did any of the local bus companies have any intention of running one.

    Had my staff levels been as they presumed, then the only place we could have parked would have been the village roads.

    So I had to contend with two authorities with conflicting parameters.

    The idiocy of local government knows no measure.

    • Hereward Unbowed.
      July 29, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      Good grief, as if running a business wasn’t difficult enough where any which way they [the administration] can screw you down and screw money out of any private business is done and gleefully so. Treated as pariahs but the major employers in this country, private SMEs are the back bone and marrow and work horse of the nation. All we hear about are the opinions of bodies like the EU funded – CBI – the corporate cartels are the real monsters.

      Next, councils, the green agenda – for that is what is the fundamental premise [agenda 21] behind all this sort of BS namely ‘sustainability’ gives these micromanaging jobsworths demigod status and carte blanche to justify any sort of madness they can conjure in their tiny brains, simply put, they are a sclerosis clogging up all society and which the country needs to wash away and cleanse itself of, a very effective de-coagulant is cutting off the fat funds ‘donated’ on behalf of the taxpayer.

      • July 30, 2017 at 7:24 am

        Every nail in the coffin got a sound whack there, sir.

        • Hereward Unbowed.
          July 30, 2017 at 11:07 am

          obliged sir, much obliged.

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