A parking warden slapped a ticket on a car just seconds after the driver got out to pick up a heavily pregnant woman with a broken leg from her High Wycombe home – prompting concern that Transport for Bucks has changed its parking policy.

A family member had stopped to collect seven-months-pregnant Eve Heard from her house in Priory Avenue for a hospital appointment on September 10 and “within the few seconds” it took to get to the front door, the driver had been given a parking fine by a warden who “sprang out of nowhere”.

Eve’s husband Jonathan said that when the warden was challenged, he claimed not to have seen the driver walking to the house and cited “Bucks’ new instant ticket policy” – however, Transport for Bucks has insisted there is no new policy and that the ticket may have been issued in error.

Mr Heard said: “My wife is on crutches – she was waiting and ready to go for her appointment. The family member who came to pick her up was not planning on stopping and parking, but she wouldn’t have even had enough time to obtain a visitor permit or a ticket.

“We’re all assured that traffic wardens don’t hide out and pounce when you’re not looking, but on this occasion it felt very much like that’s what he did.

“There is a danger that if the council starts doing this, they will raise unfair revenue from this. People will feel like they just have to shut up and pay it – I worry about that because people who are more vulnerable will feel like there’s nothing they can do.”

The parking ticket has been appealed but the family have not yet had any answers.

Mark Averill, head of highways at Bucks County Council, said it seems the parking ticket may have been issued in error and while they do not have a new policy on instant parking tickets, their guidance to enforcement officers has recently been updated and may be the cause of the confusion.

He said: “We appreciate that it would have been a difficult situation for those involved, but particularly for Mr Heard and his family.

“While there are certain parking contraventions where an instant ticket is allowed, such as School Keep Clears or Clearways, in most circumstances, the BCC policy is for a period of observation to be given.

“There is no ‘new’ BCC policy on instant tickets, though we have updated our general guidance to enforcement officers, which may have been the cause of the confusion.

“We have reminded our parking contractor of where and when observation periods are required to ensure this is clarified and takes place fairly and consistently.

“Provided it has not already been paid, Mr Heard is able to formally appeal against the issuing of the ticket.

“All formal parking appeals are considered on a case by case basis by our own experienced officers. They are able to take the full mitigating circumstances into consideration, including the apparent lack of an observation period being given and will cancel the ticket where appropriate.

“We would like to thank Mr Heard for raising this issue with us.”