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South Street Surgery nurse tending to poorly daughter and granddaughter on Stortford Fields fined £160 for parking in layby

An NHS nurse who visited her poorly daughter and grandchild in Bishop's Stortford was fined £160 by a parking enforcement firm.

Deborah Austin, a practice nurse at South Street Surgery, had parked her car in a layby in Newland Avenue on the new Stortford Fields estate on March 23 to visit her daughter Jennifer Gardiner, 34, who had a migraine, and her children.

Deborah's partner, Peter Watson, said she had not seen the 'No parking' signage, which he labelled "appalling". He said: "You either need good eyesight or be very tall."

Deborah's car parked in the layby (35101820)
Deborah's car parked in the layby (35101820)

Peter, of Chinnery Hill in Stortford, said they appealed against the ticket but were told by parking firm PCM that although Covid-19 had caused "some difficulties for individuals" Deborah had options to avoid the fine and the incident was passed to debt collectors.

The £60 fine had risen to £100 after the appeal – and when Peter and Deborah eventually decided they did not want the stress and paid, it had gone up to £160. "You'd expect a little bit of clemency and understanding," said Peter.

He said that people moving into the area needed to be aware of the restrictions as there was limited parking.

He had popped into the offices of developers and asked who was in charge of the parking enforcement, but no one seemed to know.

* Our original story has been amended at Deborah's request to correct erroneous information we were given by her partner that she was taking food and medicine to her self-isolating daughter. Deborah has asked us to point out that her daughter was not self-isolating.

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