Family stunned after being slapped with TWO parking fines while dropping dad , 92, at hospital

A family have issued a warning after being slapped with two parking tickets while using a hospital car park in Preston.

Michelle Woodburn was dropping off her 92-year-old father at Royal Preston Hospital, when she used a blue badge section of the site. Her dad has only one eye and needs a walking frame.

She parked in a car park reserved solely for blue badge holders like her dad – and even paid for the privilege on the way out. However, days later, the family received a £70 penalty charge notice in the post – and were told that they had failed to “obtain a valid permit/authorisation” to use the area known as Car Park C.

The same fate had befallen Michelle’s brother when he had accompanied their dad to hospital just a couple of weeks earlier. He was in the process of challenging the fine, issued by the firm that operates the Royal Preston and Chorley and South Ribble Hospital’s car parks, when the second one arrived. Both were at a loss as to why they had been slapped with a ticket.

“As far as we were concerned, we were doing everything right. When my brother disputed the fine, they said that they wouldn’t accept it unless he actually sent a picture of the blue badge.


“We were like, ‘Why is this happening?’ My dad’s clearly disabled – and the badge was displayed and we had paid to park.

“Someone [later told us that blue badge holders] could register up to three vehicles for free parking, but we weren’t wanting [that], we were quite happy to pay – yet we were still getting tickets,” Michelle explained.

However, it seems their generosity and willingness to waive their entitlement was their undoing. By not registering the car they had arrived in, there was no record of it being eligible to use the disabled-only parking facility.

Royal Preston Hospital
Royal Preston Hospital -Credit:James Maloney/Liverpool Echo

Displaying the badge had not spared them a ticket, because enforcement of the car park rules is done largely by CCTV rather than in-person patrols – and the camera kit detects number plates, not blue badges placed in the windscreen.

Both fines have now been cancelled by the hospital trust, but Michelle believes she and her brother cannot be the only people to have fallen foul of the system – and some might not have had the courage to question the penalty charges.

“If it was just my mum and dad, they’d freak out. [People of their age] might just pay it, which would be a scandal. Not everybody has access to going online [to read the rules],” Michelle added.

She acknowledged that she had not noticed a sign in the car park about the requirement for registration, but said that was because she was not looking for one – having assumed that paying up and displaying the badge meant she and her dad had complied with every possible rule.

Nevertheless, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (LTH) says it is now reviewing the wording of that signage in light of Michelle’s case to make it clear that registration is mandatory – and cannot be substituted for payment in situations such as when people are in a rush to get to their appointment.

An LTH spokesperson told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “Initially, all blue badge holders need to register their vehicle(s) at Royal Preston Hospital’s General Office. Registration will then last until the expiration date of [the] blue badge and also, during this time, provide eligibility for free parking.

“For those looking to register their vehicle out-of-hours (evenings and weekends), please email a photograph of your blue badge (both sides) and your vehicle registration details to and the team will register your vehicle for free parking.

“We will review the signage of Blue Badge Car Park C to ensure the correct procedure is clear for future patients and visitors.”


NHS trusts are required to provide free parking to:

Disabled people

A disabled person is a holder of a valid blue badge attending hospital as a patient or visitor or is a disabled person employed by the hospital trust. Disabled patients and visitors receive free parking for the duration of their attendance at, or visit to, the hospital. Disabled employees receive free parking while at the hospital for purposes relating to their employment.

Frequent outpatient attenders

All outpatients who attend hospital for an appointment at least three times within a month and for an overall period of at least three months. A ‘month’ is defined as a period of 30 days.

Parents of sick children staying overnight

The parent of a child in hospital overnight is defined as a parent or guardian of someone under 18 years of age, who is an inpatient at hospital through the night. They receive free parking – for a maximum of two vehicles- between 7.30pm and 8.00am while visiting that child.

Staff working night shifts

Staff working night shifts are members of staff with a shift starting after 7.30pm and ending before 8.00am.