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.”