A FORMER teacher has found herself fighting a parking charge, five years after she stayed at a Basingstoke hotel.

Christine Hunter, a former teacher at The Costello School, says she was left baffled when, out of the blue, she received two letters informing her of an unpaid County Court Judgment (CCJ).

What should have been a simple stay at the Red Lion Hotel in Basingstoke between May 14 and May 27, 2018, has now evolved into a costly battle against a parking charge.

Mrs Hunter, who has been living in Shanklin on the Isle of Wight for the past few years, was staying at hotel to help with the invigilation of GCSE exams.

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During the stay, she said she registered her vehicle number with the hotel system.

However, in December 2022 – more than four years after her stay – she received two letters from the DCBL (Direct Collection Bailiffs Ltd). The letters informed her of an unpaid CCJ totalling £347.05.

To her dismay, the charge had been imposed by Creative Parking, the management company responsible for the Red Lion car park, for a two-day period from May 24 to May 25, 2018.

Despite providing photographic evidence substantiating her stay at the hotel, her attempts to rectify the situation have so far been futile.

Basingstoke Gazette: A car parking sign outside The Red Lion Hotel. A car parking sign outside The Red Lion Hotel. (Image: Kiran Sajan)

She paid the fine immediately to avoid any hit on her credit rating but found later that her rating would be affected for the next six years.

When she enquired further, she was told that the three letters had been sent in 2019 to a flat she had rented for six months in Basingstoke, before her move to Shanklin in 2018.

She said: “It doesn't matter where I was living because the fine was illegally issued, due to the fact that I have proof that I was staying at the Red Lion Hotel, on the date in question.”

She now finds herself compelled to seek legal advice, which will incur further costs and she has spoken out to warn others about using that car park. 

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A spokesperson for the Red Lion Hotel said the charges are imposed as a way of ensuring the car park is not abused by people parking there to visit the town.

They said: “We are contracted with Creative Parking on a no-profit basis, to try and stop people abusing our town centre parking facilities to ensure all our hotel guests have a space available for their vehicles during their stay.

“All the signs say that anyone who gets a fine must contact Creative Parking and either pay or challenge the fine directly with them.

“Mrs Hunter had received this fine five years ago in 2018 and this case was brought to our attention in 2023, at a point which is beyond our control.

"As a hotel, we have done everything within our power to help her. But unfortunately, at this date, it has gone past our control.”

Creative Parking did not respond to requests for comment.