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New twist in RUH car parking saga

The RUH in Bath parking row took another twist this week when Melksham News discovered that the way the RUH operates its car parking would not be acceptable according to  Government guidelines designed to ensure that car parks operate fairly.

Car parking at the RUH has been heavily criticised in recent weeks by drivers saying they have been unfairly fined or charged by ParkingEye, the company that enforces the car parking regulations at the RUH. Following a letter in Melksham News, dozens of people came forward with complaints.

The Government guidelines on ‘Contracted-out car parking’ say that, “Contracts should not be let on any basis that incentivises additional charges, eg ‘income from parking charge notices only’.”

The RUH says that they have not ‘contracted out’ their car parking, only the enforcement of parking fines. But they have admitted in an email to one of our readers that ParkingEye’s only income comes from the parking fines.

This seems to allow ParkingEye to operate in a manner that goes against Government guidelines.

The email, from Penny Russell, Estates & Facilities Support Manager, Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust, says, “In answer to your recent letter to James Scott, Chief Executive which was forwarded to Brian Gubb, Director of Estates & Facilities, I have been asked by Brian to confirm that Parking Eye’s remuneration is solely by way of parking enforcement penalties.”

As a result, the RUH appears to be allowing ParkingEye to collect fines in a way deemed unacceptable by Government guidelines, but are able to do so because the hospital trust says it hasn’t handed the running of the car parks over to ParkingEye, merely the enforcement of fines.

Melksham News contacted the RUH for a comment and received this reply from Brian Gubb, Director of Estates and Facilities at the Royal United Hospitals Bath NHS Foundation Trust: “We operate in accordance with the Department of Health guidelines. We have a contract with ParkingEye to enforce car parking charges on the RUH site. The management of car parking remains with the Trust – it has not been contracted out.”

But this latest twist is likely to increase pressure on the RUH to look again at their car parking policy.