Coronavirus: Call for parking charge changes after NHS worker gets ticket at Dagenham supermarket

Alan Brown from Dagenham distributes PPE for the NHS. He got a parking ticket at Merrielands Retail

Alan Brown from Dagenham distributes PPE for the NHS. He got a parking ticket at Merrielands Retail Park. Picture: Lorna Cunnew - Credit: Archant

An NHS worker has called for changes to parking restrictions after being fined while waiting to get into a supermarket.

Alan Brown of Heathway, Dagenham, said he felt sick when a £100 fine dropped through his letterbox on Wednesday, April 15 after he overstayed at a privately run car park at Merrielands Retail Park.

The 61-year-old, who is responsible for distributing personal protective equipment (PPE) at Barts Health NHS Trust, said: “I couldn’t believe it.

“A lot of people will be getting these tickets – people who want to go to the shops early. I’m making sure equipment gets to the frontline. We’re supposed to all be heroes.”

It all started when Alan parked at about 6.45am on April 4 to beat the queue at Aldi and make sure he could get to work at Newham Hospital on time. But between 11.30pm and 7.29am the maximum stay is only 15 minutes.

He didn’t leave the car park until 7.15am because of having to wait longer to do his shopping.

Eleven days later he received the penalty, which would be reduced to £60 if paid within 14 days.

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Alan has appealed against the charge, meaning the fine stays at the reduced amount for the time being.

However, he is expecting another ticket to drop through the letterbox after visiting Aldi a second time at about the same time of the morning, before he got the first fine.

“I went to get my shopping and get out. I didn’t realise the time. You can queue for ages there. At half seven the queue goes right around the store.

“This needs to be looked at. As key workers we’re dealing with the coronavirus.

“It’s out of order what they’re doing.

“They should adjust the hours so hospital workers can park,” Alan said.

He added Aldi has started opening earlier so key workers can shop, and avoid arriving later to find empty shelves in the supermarket.

But he warned that if the parking times don’t change, more NHS staff dealing with the coronavirus pandemic could share his experience.

“This should be addressed for everyone,” Alan said.

Euro Car Parks, which operates the car park, has not yet responded to a request for comment.