ROTHER has been branded ‘disgusting and despicable’ for issuing a parking fine to a car in Battle - despite being told the driver was heading to hospital in an ambulance with her injured elderly husband.
Marion Davis, 74, was shopping in the town when husband Gerry, 84, fell and dislocated his shoulder in Mount Street.
Mrs Davis, with the help of passersby, took Gerry to the Martins Oak Surgery, where staff dialled 999.
Mrs Davis left a note in the windscreen of her car in the Upper Market car park, informing parking officials she was heading to hospital.
But despite the note being clearly displayed and written on headed notepaper from the doctor’s surgery, Rother District Council’s parking warden still went ahead and slapped an £80 fine on the vehicle.
Mrs Davis said: “I thought it was awful. I could not believe it.”
Mrs Davis said she could not get in her car and follow the ambulance to the hospital as her husband has brain damage and vascular dementia and needed her by his side.
Mrs Davis acts as her husband’s carer and regularly receives help from the Carers Association, a voluntary organisation who provide respite for carers.
The couple, who live on Netherfield Hill, had only called into Battle on October 29 to buy a present and had paid for a one hour stay in the Rother-run car park.
They arrived in the town at 10.30am, but did not get home from the hospital until 4.30pm.
Mrs Davis’ daughter Nicolette and staff at the Martins Oak Surgery have written to Rother on her behalf, appealing against the fine.
Mrs Davis claims that staff at the surgery said it is not the first time Rother has issued a parking fine to someone who has overstayed in their car parks, despite being informed the driver has been taken to hospital in an ambulance.
Mrs Davis regularly has to drive to Battle to take her husband to doctor’s appointments and pick up prescriptions.
Between May 2012 and August this year, she has spent £217 on parking in Battle’s car parks.
Mrs Davis believes a new scheme is needed to ensure Battle residents are getting a fairer deal.
She said: “I think they should let local people have some sort of residents’ ticket or some sort of token you can buy which is cheaper.”
Battle Town Council chairman and mayor Cllr Richard Bye has jointly led a campaign for fairer parking charges.
He told the Observer he was “appalled and disgusted” at Mrs Davis’ fine and intends to pursue the matter further.
He said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting and despicable that Rother would act like this, especially when that poor chap was taken to hospital, yet they still put a ticket on it.
“It’s a bit much really.
“It had headed paper from the doctor’s surgery and the parking attendant should have used common sense and not been so officious.
“I’m appalled and disgusted.”
A Rother District Council spokesman said: “We’re very sorry to hear about this incident and we will be looking into this matter to establish exactly what happened.
“Clearly common sense has to prevail and we would usually cancel a parking ticket issued to someone who had genuinely been taken ill.
“We are in touch with the family and hope to resolve the situation to everyone’s satisfaction shortly.”