Dental staff spitting teeth at council parking fines
Staff at a dental practice were slapped with fines totalling nearly £500 despite believing they were following council guidelines on parking during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr Laurence Baum, who runs Dental Care Centre in High Road, North Finchley, said seven penalty charge notices (PCNs) – six for £60 and one for £110 – had been issued to staff at his practice in recent weeks.
Guidance on a Barnet Council web page told health and care workers they could leave their cars in council-run car parks without paying and on single yellow lines – providing they were not causing an obstruction. Brought in during the pandemic, the concessions do not expire until 21st June.
The web page said they should display a government Covid-19 parking pass issued by their employer, a copy of their NHS ID, or a letter on headed paper from their employer confirming their status.
Dr Baum said: “The council have been slapping me and my staff with lots of tickets and do not seem to be interested, although they are advertising that we are still able to park – the website says until 21st June.
“My staff have been intimidated to not park or to pay. I decided I would take a copy of the website and details and stick it to the permit, and I still got a ticket.
“They just talk about key workers and do not seem to know what is going on at all.”
Dr Baum said most of the tickets were issued in nearby Lodge Lane Car Park or while he was parked on a single yellow line – where he had left his car so other members of the public could use dedicated parking bays to go shopping.
“I did have this about six months ago,” he said. “It went to the London appeal tribunal, they quashed the ticket, and then I heard nothing for six months.
“It is appalling, really. They are just intimidating everyone.”
A Barnet Council spokesperson said the concessions were “expected to be for those involved in the delivery of critical care or who may find that they are often called to continue to provide care with short notice” – although this was not stated on the web page.
Admitting the information on the web page “may not have been clear for all”, the spokesperson said the PCNs had now been cancelled.
The council spokesperson said: “Healthcare concessions were expected to be for those involved in the delivery of critical care or who may find that they are often called to continue to provide care with short notice, especially medics assisting in the delivery of Covid-19 related matters.
“However, we acknowledge that while most providers of non-urgent healthcare have not used this concession, the information on the website may not have been clear for all.
“On this occasion, we have cancelled the PCNs, and while we would welcome Dr Baum and his team joining other car park users and paying for his parking stays, we will not be enforcing should he continue to display the concession letter prior to the 21st June date.”