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Stupid Parking Policy - Long Rant

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Steve Maskery

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Is it me or what?

A couple of weeks ago my wife got a parking ticket. She is a GP, and parked in a Residents Only space at the home of a patient. It is all Res Only, there is very little other parking, and of course, it is always full.

The bloke at the council whose responsibility this is is called Butt (I've done all the jokes myself) and his view is that doctors should either:

1) Go to the patient's house, collect the Visitor's Permit, return to the car (all the time carrying her bag - she can't leave it anywhere as it contains drugs), display the permit, back to the patient. Then when the visit is over, the return process is required. This may be some distance, because, of course, it is difficult to park.

or

2) Buy an exemption permit (£25 per car per year) and they will leave her alone. I believe a similar system has operated in parts of Southern Italy for some years.

The first solution is crackers because half the residents dont have the permits, if they do they don't know they do, and if they knoow they do they do not know where it is. Is my wife really supposed to get into an argument about whether they have a permit or not, or start rummaging htrough kitchen drawers, trying to find it? Many of the residents are elderly / infirm / speak little English. It's not an option. Mr Butt seems to think it takes "just a few seconds". In reality, even if each one was just 5 minutes, it means the 6th patient on her list is seen half an hour later than they would be otherwise, which in the case of a heart attack or meningitis, is the difference between lif and death. That half hour is 10 hours a month, or an extra 3 surgeries. She already works a 12-hour day, 7 or even 8 on her half day. As well as being on call.

The second solution requires a budget of £300 per year just for her practice alone (GPs, locums, District Nurses, Health Visitors). This would fund 2 or 3 surgeries. Multiply that up by the number of prectices in the greater Nottingham area (300+) and you get a figure close to 100K. Is the local PCT really supposed to have that sort of money lying about to fund the Council's hare-brained scheme? Whose treatment should be cancelled to pay for this?

The obvious solution is to allow health workers to display a Doctor on Call notice in their windscreen and instruct Parking Warden to leave them alone. If they suspect the system is being abused, wait until the driver returns and check on them. Instead they have a shoot-first-ask-questions-later approach.

Does anyone know how people like this get into positions of power like this, or how authority is managed in Councils? I don't, but I'm inclined to find out.

I have today managed to get an assurance that my wife's ticket will be repaid, but no hint of repentance or that a change in policy will be considered.

Has anyone else had any experience of dealing with Councils in this way? Am I being unresonable?

Thanks for reading this far!

Cheers
Steve
 

Terry Smart

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Hi Steve

My commiserations; this is indeed a stupid policy but then again, isn't that what the local councils are there for? The most annoying thing is as you say there is a simple solution but no-one there is bright enough to see it. Of course, the problem with your idea is that the council won't make any money out of it, and we can't have that! How else will they fund those wonderful magazines they send out telling you how wonderful they are (another pet hate of mine!).

I'm afraid I can't answer any of your questions other than to say you are not being unreasonable. This sounds like the policies some councils run where you have a permit but if you change your car during the year you have to get a new one at some outrageous cost.

My only similar experience was years ago, I got a ticket by overstaying my welcome (seem to think it had something to do with an emergency nappy change!) but fair enough, I was late back to the car. I paid the fine promptly to take advantage of the early settlement discount, only to get a second letter some weeks later telling me that I hadn't paid and the full amount was now due.
I queried this and they told me that they now had my cheque; I informed them that I had sent it in in plenty of time but they disputed this and demanded the full amount. I told them I'd see them in court (I was young and impetuous... these days only half of that is true!) and they could prove what day they recieved the cheque as, as far as I was concerned, I was innocent until they could prove otherwise.
I had one more phone call demanding the money which I hung up on...
Then some weeks later they rang to say that there had been a mistake with some post at the time and they would 'give me the benefit of the doubt'. I'm sure that if I had just rolled over and paid the money I wouldn't have got it back!

As I get older I get more cynical and my faith in 'authority' is not what it was when I was younger...
 

Bean

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I had a simular problem with council tax, charnwood council threatened court action if it was not paid as we were in their words in arrears, despite the fact that the checque having been cashed by them, they were unrepentant. Upon production of a copy of the statement and a confirmation from the bank that the checque had been cashed by them, they went silent....No apology no more communication.

This is the service we pay for, the employees I have come across are only interested in doing the minimum for the maximum salary, I have nothing good to say about them.

Bean
 

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