A diabetic man who stopped his vehicle in a beach carpark to tend to his dangerously low sugar levels has been slapped with a £100 parking fine and threatened with legal action.
Kevin Roberts, who is registered disabled and wears callipers on both legs as a result of nerve damage due to his diabetes, said he was unable to get out of the car to pay the parking charge.
The 56-year-old was driving back from a hospital appointment at Hull Royal Infirmary in March when he began to feel sweaty and faint.
Kevin decided it was too dangerous to continue driving so pulled into Fraisthorpe Beach car park. Fraisthorpe is a flat, sandy beach in the East Riding area of Yorkshire.
He told Hull Live that he had to eat a Mars bar and have a sugary drink and then wait half an hour until his blood sugar was restored to safe levels before carrying on with his drive home to nearby Bridlington.
Kevin, who cannot work and is on disability and incapacity benefit because of his health problems, said that since he was alone and uses a wheelchair he would have struggled to go the ticket machine even if his sugar levels were normal.
He said: “It was lockdown, so I didn’t think there would be charges. I couldn’t have got out of my car as I was alone and need help with my wheelchair, and the ground was so uneven that I couldn’t have walked to the machine if I wanted to.”
Soon after, Kevin received a letter from Excel Parking Services demanding a £100 payment.
Kevin said: “It was apparently the second time they’d contacted me, but I didn’t get the so-called ‘first’ letter.”
He appealed straight away, lodging a complaint with the Independent Appeals Service (IAS), who have confirmed they are looking into his case.
But despite the investigation, Kevin has received another letter stating payment had now increased to £160 and threatening legal action and bailiffs if he fails to pay the charges within seven days.
Kevin added: “It’s really stressing me out, getting these letters and threatening court proceedings. You can’t get anybody on the phone when you call this company, they don’t want to know, just as long as they get their money.
“I don’t have much money to spare, I’m on incapacity, and all my money goes on bills. I am willing to go to court over this, I am not paying it. They should be paying me for stressing me out.”
The beach and parking firm has been criticised by several beach-goers on review sites Trip Advisor and Beach Guide, after a string of complaints from others saying they had been fined, and claiming the beach was now “ruined” by the heavy-handed parking enforcement.
A representative for Excel Parking Services said: “There is numerous signage at the Fraisthorpe Beach car park which make it clear that it is a ‘Pay’ car park and we have supplied a picture of the entrance signage for inclusion in the article. At the time of Mr Roberts’ visit, there were two large entrance signs, 45 information boards and two large tariff boards in place at the car park and as such we are surprised that he claims he did not see any signage.
“We did respond to Mr Roberts’ appeal on 5 May 2021 which included details of how he could have his case adjudicated by the Independent Appeals Service (the IAS) which, by his own admission, he has sought to do so.
“In conclusion, we are satisfied that the parking charge was issued and processed correctly.”