Published: 10:51, 07 March 2019
| Updated: 11:43, 07 March 2019
A wave of parking fines have been handed out to nurses who were taking blood donations at a leisure centre.
More than half a dozen health workers were given penalties by parking officers outside the Angel Centre in Tonbridge on Tuesday, despite many of them clearly displaying permits on their windscreens.
Some of these were cards from the NHS and Blood Transfusion Service, while others had informal photocopies.
Mum-of-two Jane Armstrong, of Common Road, Ightham, who made her 15th blood donation the same day, was among the passers-by to criticise the fines.
"I thought it was ridiculous," said the 39-year-old travel consultant.
"These nurses do a great job and don't get paid a huge amount for what they do.
"They very clearly had signs on their dashboards saying they were working in the donation centre.
"It just seems like they're out to make money without thinking of who they are targeting - you'd like to think people have a conscience."
Others described the penalties as "disgusting" and "disgraceful".
Tonbridge and Malling Borough Council has since claimed the fines were issued because no parking arrangement had been made for such staff but insists lessons will be learned and has asked any nurses who received tickets to appeal the decision.
Robert Styles, the council’s director for Street Scene, Leisure and Technical Services, said: "TMBC fully recognizes the vital work that the Blood Transfusion Service does, and has arranged to meet with the NHS Blood and Transplant Service to discuss future parking arrangements.
"Tuesday’s parking tickets were correctly issued, and can be challenged as set out on the reverse of the parking ticket, in which case we would of course revoke any that were issued to NHS staff.
"In the meantime no further parking tickets will be issued to vehicles clearly belonging to their staff, and we hope to formalise this situation in the near future, ensuring that this misunderstanding cannot occur again."
Mark Rowland, Area Manager for NHS Blood and Transplant, added: “Our blood donation nurses have parked in these spaces for several years with the understanding that they needed to display appropriate signs.
“We were unaware of any difficulty until the parking tickets were issued. We are contacting the council to discuss the situation.
“Blood donation saves lives. We thank all our generous blood donors and we look forward to seeing them at the next session in the area.”