Woman refuses to pay 'unreasonable' fines at Elstree and Borehamwood station car park

Caroline Felton stands next to some of the contractors' vehicles taking up spaces

Caroline Felton stands next to some of the contractors' vehicles taking up spaces

First published in News
Last updated
Borehamwood Times: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

A woman who was fined after spending nearly £1,000 to leave her car in a station car park has said she will not pay up without a fight.

Caroline Felton, who lives in Bairstow Close in Borehamwood, was fined £85 on two separate occasions in October and January for parking her car in a non-designated parking bay at Elstree and Borehamwood Station.

The mother, who pays £950 a year to park in the car park so she can take the train to her job in central London, twice arrived at 8.15am to find it completely full, meaning she was forced to leave her car at the end of a row.

She discovered the shortage of bays was due to at least 11 being used by cranes and other vehicles belonging to contractors constructing a new footbridge at the station.

Mrs Felton said she was “outraged” at having to pay nearly £1,000 for a car park she could not use and has refused to pay the fines to APCOA, which enforces charges on behalf of First Capital Connect.

She said: “I had no choice but to park where I did. I made sure on both occasions I was parked so that I was not blocking any other cars or preventing them leaving or arriving at the station.

“I think it is disgusting that I have received this fine bearing in mind the amount of money I pay each year to park in a poorly lit and overcrowded car park. APCOA have no doubt found the process of doublebooking bays for contractors and then penalising season ticket holders forced to park outside bays very lucrative.

“There seems to be a distinct lack of common sense or fairness in the decision to penalise me, when instead the train company should be offering a discount or compensation for season ticket holders to apologise for any inconvenience while the work is being carried out.”

Mrs Felton is a single parent after her husband died last year, and says she does not have the resources to pay the “extortionate sum” of £1,120 that will guarantee her a dedicated parking bay.

She has written to the MP for Hertsmere James Clappison about her situation, and has received a response from him saying he had asked APCOA to waive the fines because of the special circumstances Mrs Felton faced.

However, a spokesman for First Capital Connect, Roger Perkins, said Mrs Felton was “clearly flouting” the rules the contractors have on display.

He added the parking for the contractors was “absolutely essential” so Network Rail could build the new footbridge that residents desperately require, and they were only taking up four per cent of it. 

Mr Perkins said: “An annual parking permit gives motorists a significant one-third discount on the daily fee but it does not guarantee a space in our car parks as the terms and conditions of the ticket make clear. Ms Felton knew the rules and parked outside a bay next to a junction in a position that was unsafe.”

He added the contractors would be giving back ten spaces in the compound for use by commuters on Saturday.

A spokesperson from APCOA Parking said: “While we can certainly empathise with Mrs Felton’s need to get to work on time, the terms and conditions for parking at both stations clearly state that a vehicle must be parked in a designated parking bay. In both cases, however, Mrs Felton’s vehicle was parked in contravention, which is why a parking charge notice (PCN) was issued.

“Drivers always have the right to contest the issue of a PCN through the appeals’ process. We also strongly encourage drivers to make alternative arrangements at such times when the car park is full to avoid them parking in contravention.”

Comments (14)

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12:11pm Thu 16 Jan 14

TFEB says...

£950 + two £85 parking fines is the same as the £1120 for a reserved place.
£950 + two £85 parking fines is the same as the £1120 for a reserved place. TFEB
  • Score: 0

1:44pm Thu 16 Jan 14

spring22 says...

This car park is always over subscribed contractors or no contractors, how can they justify such a place for no guarantee of service? I can't think of any other business that would work on this model.
This car park is always over subscribed contractors or no contractors, how can they justify such a place for no guarantee of service? I can't think of any other business that would work on this model. spring22
  • Score: 9

1:55pm Thu 16 Jan 14

G_Whiz says...

Fine the contractors and refund any motorists who can't get a space. (the daily rate)

This is just another example of greed - and a spineless council who cannot make sure fair rules are in place on their patch.
Fine the contractors and refund any motorists who can't get a space. (the daily rate) This is just another example of greed - and a spineless council who cannot make sure fair rules are in place on their patch. G_Whiz
  • Score: 7

2:35pm Thu 16 Jan 14

clive4it says...

Seems to me it's like Airlines that overbook and then bump some travelers to a later flight. Given the lack of alternatives when the car park is full it seems most unreasonable. What possible alternatives are there - a most disingenuous comment from the operator. Local councils have absolutely no say in the running of the car park so are pretty much powerless in this case. I would be tempted, if the appeal process yields nothing, to allow them to take me to court. I think it is unlikely to be taken that far.
Seems to me it's like Airlines that overbook and then bump some travelers to a later flight. Given the lack of alternatives when the car park is full it seems most unreasonable. What possible alternatives are there - a most disingenuous comment from the operator. Local councils have absolutely no say in the running of the car park so are pretty much powerless in this case. I would be tempted, if the appeal process yields nothing, to allow them to take me to court. I think it is unlikely to be taken that far. clive4it
  • Score: 5

2:37pm Thu 16 Jan 14

clive4it says...

Perhaps the operators should be forced to notify all users once the car park is full as otherwise you don't know until you waste time looking for a space that doesn't exist? This might at least give some users a chance to make alternative arrangements - like walking or taking public transport to the station.
Perhaps the operators should be forced to notify all users once the car park is full as otherwise you don't know until you waste time looking for a space that doesn't exist? This might at least give some users a chance to make alternative arrangements - like walking or taking public transport to the station. clive4it
  • Score: 8

3:27pm Thu 16 Jan 14

TFEB says...

FCC runs the car park better than the trains, you can pay extra and have a guaranteed parking place, you can have a season ticket for the train but cannot be guaranteed a seat even if you want to pay more.
FCC runs the car park better than the trains, you can pay extra and have a guaranteed parking place, you can have a season ticket for the train but cannot be guaranteed a seat even if you want to pay more. TFEB
  • Score: 3

6:52pm Thu 16 Jan 14

JeffTracy says...

FCC's parking management procedures need to be reviewed. If you spend nearly £1,000 on a season ticket you should expect some kind of service for the fee paid. Instead you have to get to the station before 8.00am otherwise you have wasted your money. Perhaps day tickets should only be sold at off-peak times or a large bank of spaces be reserved for season ticket holders up until the end of the rush-hour. Caroline Felton is rightfully aggrieved.
FCC's parking management procedures need to be reviewed. If you spend nearly £1,000 on a season ticket you should expect some kind of service for the fee paid. Instead you have to get to the station before 8.00am otherwise you have wasted your money. Perhaps day tickets should only be sold at off-peak times or a large bank of spaces be reserved for season ticket holders up until the end of the rush-hour. Caroline Felton is rightfully aggrieved. JeffTracy
  • Score: 5

7:28pm Thu 16 Jan 14

TFEB says...

Then again if you get parking ticket once for parking outside a bay then go and do it again you should not be surprised if you get another ticket.
Then again if you get parking ticket once for parking outside a bay then go and do it again you should not be surprised if you get another ticket. TFEB
  • Score: 4

10:50am Fri 17 Jan 14

John_W says...

The Council are just as bad.
I live on a street with residents only parking, and they have issued more permits than there are spaces.
The Council are just as bad. I live on a street with residents only parking, and they have issued more permits than there are spaces. John_W
  • Score: 4

2:27pm Fri 17 Jan 14

NewTeacher says...

over 52 weeks it works out to just over £4 a day that is hardly extortianate!
Pay the £1120 for a guaranteed space
over 52 weeks it works out to just over £4 a day that is hardly extortianate! Pay the £1120 for a guaranteed space NewTeacher
  • Score: -2

2:13pm Sat 18 Jan 14

JeffTracy says...

NewTeacher wrote:
over 52 weeks it works out to just over £4 a day that is hardly extortianate!
Pay the £1120 for a guaranteed space
I understand NewTeacher's view, however poor Mrs Felton wouldn't have that option as there is already a waiting list for the Premier bays and none will come available until June at the earliest. So she couldn't upgrade even if she wanted to.
[quote][p][bold]NewTeacher[/bold] wrote: over 52 weeks it works out to just over £4 a day that is hardly extortianate! Pay the £1120 for a guaranteed space[/p][/quote]I understand NewTeacher's view, however poor Mrs Felton wouldn't have that option as there is already a waiting list for the Premier bays and none will come available until June at the earliest. So she couldn't upgrade even if she wanted to. JeffTracy
  • Score: 3

10:52am Mon 20 Jan 14

NewTeacher says...

It is a bit pointless and a waste of money to pay £950 a year if that doesn't get you a space. I think the parking company needs to take a look at this- how can you charge people for parking spaces that don't exist????
It is a bit pointless and a waste of money to pay £950 a year if that doesn't get you a space. I think the parking company needs to take a look at this- how can you charge people for parking spaces that don't exist???? NewTeacher
  • Score: 2

9:47pm Mon 20 Jan 14

james smyth says...

PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not pay these worthless bits of paper cleverly designed to fool you into believing that its a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE.
they have no legal basis to make you pay although they will threaten you with this and that,even they say that they will take you to court, which actually they wont, its all bluff. even if they wasted their time in issuiing you a summons it would be laughed out of court seeing as you have paid to park there in the first place but the spaces were full of contractors trucks! did they forewarn part of the car park would be out of use?
If you look up the peoples champion Martin lewis ,his website has a bit that will tell you all about these leeches on society who demand money by menaces. Honestly look it up and you will see that you DO NOT HAVE TO PAY www.moneysavingexper
t.com
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not pay these worthless bits of paper cleverly designed to fool you into believing that its a PENALTY CHARGE NOTICE. they have no legal basis to make you pay although they will threaten you with this and that,even they say that they will take you to court, which actually they wont, its all bluff. even if they wasted their time in issuiing you a summons it would be laughed out of court seeing as you have paid to park there in the first place but the spaces were full of contractors trucks! did they forewarn part of the car park would be out of use? If you look up the peoples champion Martin lewis ,his website has a bit that will tell you all about these leeches on society who demand money by menaces. Honestly look it up and you will see that you DO NOT HAVE TO PAY www.moneysavingexper t.com james smyth
  • Score: 5

10:20pm Wed 22 Jan 14

charliemartin says...

are there really 250 spaces there ? (4% being 10)
Caroline...DO NOT PAY THESE !
Appeal to APCOA if you can before the 28 days , they will refuse you, then you get a POPLA code, which means you can appeal to the Parking on Private Land appeals service, and you are guaranteed to win as they cannot justify their Genuine Pre-Estimate of Loss.
Go to www.parking-prankste
r.com
are there really 250 spaces there ? (4% being 10) Caroline...DO NOT PAY THESE ! Appeal to APCOA if you can before the 28 days , they will refuse you, then you get a POPLA code, which means you can appeal to the Parking on Private Land appeals service, and you are guaranteed to win as they cannot justify their Genuine Pre-Estimate of Loss. Go to www.parking-prankste r.com charliemartin
  • Score: 1

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