Parking company refunds more than £7,000 to Mirfield patients over parking row

Mirfield Health Centre

A parking company has paid out thousands of pounds - and overhauled its policy - after patients at a West Yorkshire health centre claimed it was 'preying on vulnerable people'.

Campaigners at Mirfield Health centre described the new parking system - introduced in October - as 'confusing'.

The company UK Car Parking Management was brought in to 'prevent people who were not patients abusing the system'.

Patients were then required to enter their registration when they attended the surgery.

But some patients had been fined up to £470 after attending multiple appointments - and either not realising, forgetting, or inputting their car registration incorrectly. Their fines increased on appeal - and proof of appointment was not accepted.

Now though, patients who did prove they had an appointment - have been refunded.

Councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton

Mirfield councillor Vivien Lees-Hamilton said it showed the 'power of the people'. She added: ''I've loved every minute of it. To see that they can appeal, they did get their money back - and things have been set right. It's what I do as a councillor - stand up for people who can't stand up for themselves. We must have got more than £7,000 for 50 people.

''It's been fantastic coverage. Local media is brilliant for combating local issues. It raises the profile - and it got a brilliant result.

''One single mum who was sent into her overdraft after the fine - the £270 appeared back in her account after the piece went out.''

Andy Breare, whose 83-year-old father was fined - and now refunded - after a 12 minute appointment, said: ''My dad had been very stressed about it and didn't understand. Thanks to proper local journalism this appalling situation was exposed. We are so happy.''

UK Car Parking Management previously told ITV News it would review some cases.

It added: ''The signage located throughout the car parks advises motorists to enter their full, correct vehicle registration at the kiosks located inside for 90 minutes authorised parking or the vehicle must have a valid e-Permit.

''Before go-live at any sites we manage we will agree any specific site rules for appeals with our client and these have been followed accordingly at this site. Recently we had a request to change these rules to accept appeals from anyone with an appointment on site which we implemented immediately.''

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