A disgruntled business boss will “pay up under protest” after a year-long battle over a disputed parking fine picked.
Stuart Urwin, who runs the not-for-profit South Tyneside Community Laundry, says he was at South Tyneside District Hospital for a meeting with staff when he was slapped with a £40 charge for going over a planned 20-minute stay in August of last year.
Mr Urwin says he was at the hospital at the request of the occupational therapy team, to finalise an agreement to carry out laundry for patients.
Parking Eye - the firm which manages parking charge at the hospital in Harton Lane, South Shields - said it would take him to court if he didn’t pay the fine, which rocketed to £120 after his appeal against the charge was dismissed.
The fine has now reduced back down to £40 after talks between Parking Eye and hospital bosses.
Mr Urwin says he will have to “grin and bear it” and pay the charge but still believes the fine was unfair.
It still makes my blood boil having to pay the fine
He says he feared jeopardising his firm’s relationship with the hospital if he pressed ahead with plans to have his day in court.
The 56-year-old said: “It still makes my blood boil having to pay the fine because I was on an official hospital visit but after talking to my solicitor in regards to the offer I have decided to grin and bear it and pay the £40 fine.
“I didn’t want to jeopardise the partnership we have with the hospital. If I went to court I risked having a county court judgement against me.
“I had to think of my workforce. With the health hub coming to South Tyneside Hospital, I want us to be in a position to continue to work with the hospital.
“Reluctantly I will pay, but I am paying in protest.”
South Tyneside Community Laundry, set up in 2010, works in partnership with South Tyneside Council to offer a cleaning service to hundreds of elderly and disabled residents across the borough.
Steve Jamieson, South Tyneside NHS Foundation Trust’s director of corporate services and estates, said: “We approached ParkingEye on Mr Urwin’s behalf and they agreed to look into his case.”