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.