Man handed £225 fine after stopping for seconds to read parking sign
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A man has spoken out after being slapped with a hefty fine for stopping for just 'under a minute' to read a parking sign.
Andy Smith stopped his car momentarily to read a parking sign at East Midlands Airport, pausing his vehicle in a 'No Stopping' zone just after 5:00pm on 2 January, 2023 when dropping a friend off at a hotel within the airport's grounds.
Weeks later, the 75-year-old found himself hit with a Charge Notice.
Driving his two friends to the airport to drop their luggage the day before their flight and check-in to a hotel for the night, Smith dropped off one friend at the airport drop off zone with no problems.
But it was when he took the second friend over to the Leonardo Hotel when he experienced difficulties.
Spotting a barrier blocking the hotel's car park and uncertain how to enter - with the rain and dark also making it difficult to see - the 75-year-old stopped his vehicle to read a parking sign.
Weeks later, he was later slapped with a £100 Charge Notice for stopping on a red line.
The 75-year-old refused to pay, attempting to appeal the fine instead. However, this resulted in the charge being raised to £255.
Smith argued it would be 'impossible' to read the sign without stopping and the airport was taking advantage of 'two confuse pensioners, who simply stopped momentarily [for an alleged 53 seconds to be exact] to read a sign having already paid the drop-off fee'.
He said: "I was absolutely staggered that I should be charged for stopping to read the hotel’s notice.
"It’s outrageous. We have the receipt to show we paid the drop-off fee and a letter from the hotel confirming the booking. I’ve complained to the parking company, used their appeals process, and complained to East Midlands Airport.
"It all falls on deaf ears. If the sign isn’t supposed to be read, why is it there? It could not possibly be read whilst driving past it as it contains too much detail."
Thankfully, after being contacted by Nottinghamshire Live, East Midlands Airport has since decided to suspend the fine.
An East Midlands Airport spokesperson, said: "Having reviewed the footage of Mr Smith’s vehicle movements, we have instructed Vehicle Control Services (VCS), which enforces no waiting on red-routed airport estate roads, to cancel the fine. We apologise for the inconvenience that this has caused him.
"Controlling traffic flow across a busy airport site is key to keeping visitors safe. For this reason, airport estate roads are red-routed and 'No stopping' signage is clearly visible to discourage drivers from waiting in undesignated parking areas when dropping off and collecting passengers.
“All drivers have a choice of drop-off and pick-up parking at the airport. Waiting for fifteen minutes in rapid drop off costs £5, while 30 minutes parking in short stay one car park is £6. One hour’s free parking can be had in Long Stay Two."
Smith is 'relieved' he no longer has to pay the fine, but remains 'angry' at the thought of others having fallen into the same trap.
The 75-year-old noted his gratitude to Nottingham Post for helping him get the fine redacted and noted he's spoken out to 'make other people aware of this and to stick to their guns'.