Couple furious at �60 parking ticket issued while taking mum to Royal Free

� A Temple Fortune couple were dealt out a �60 parking ticket while queuing for the Royal Free car park after taking their elderly mother to the hospital.

Curtis Lashley had temporarily left his 69-year-old mother, who suffers from diabetes and a serious heart condition, with medical staff while they parked their car.

But while he and his wife, Liz, were waiting to enter the Hampstead hospital’s multi-storey car park, a warden from a private parking firm approached them.

Mrs Lashley explained that the official ordered her husband to move out of the queue for the car park’s upper deck and go to the ground-floor level entrance.

But she said Mr Lashley refused to move because the lower level was full and other vehicles were being turned away.

The pair say they were outraged when the warden then announced he was giving them a ticket for “contravening the hospital site rule”.

“I’m hopping mad,” said Mrs Lashley “I’ve spoken to PALS (Patient Advice and Liaison Service) at the Royal Free and they said this is ridiculous and they’ve sent me out a complaint pack.”

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Mrs Lashley said her anger increased when the company – named Parkforce –sent through a letter ordering her husband to pay the fine.

“It said that we were not allowed to have any phone correspondence with anyone and that everything has to be done in writing,” she revealed.

“It said if you want to appeal you have to send a cheque and then they will decide if the ticket is valid or not.

“How can the Royal Free employ this Mickey Mouse organisation, who you can’t even appeal independently to?

‘‘I am not sending a cheque because I don’t believe the appeal would be unbiased.”

Parkforce director Frances Warburton admitted that the penalty letter her company sends out does tell people to pay the fine upfront even if they are appealing.

But she defended this practice, saying: “They don’t have to send the payment. If the payment isn’t sent with the appeal there will be no further charges.

“The appeal goes on hold and it stays on hold until we have investigated it.”

A spokeswoman for the Royal Free said: “The appeals process is managed by Parkforce Ltd who liaise closely with the hospital trust to ensure fairness and consistency.”