Motorists claim that heavy handed parking control at St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park could put them off coming back to the £17m complex.

Westbury mum Gail Greatwood, who lives in Hackney Way, is one of several people who have spoken to the Wiltshire Times about the parking fines given by UK Parking Control.

Mrs Greatwood went to the leisure park for the first time in May to take her daughter Skye, eight, and friends to the cinema for her birthday. A month later she received a letter saying she owed £100 for parking without clearly displaying a ticket.

She replied and attached her ticket for three hours free parking, which she had got from the machine at 1.28pm, showing that she had a ticket allowing her to park until 4.28pm.

However, UKPC sent a response to say that its appeals manager reviewed the case and believed the parking charge was correctly issued, despite the company reducing the fee to £15.

Mrs Greatwood said: “I sent back the proof that I had a ticket, which I believe I displayed correctly, but they still insisted I pay a fine for not displaying a ticket. I imagine a lot of people get frightened and pay it straightaway, but it’s ridiculous.

“It’s the first and last time I will be using the St Stephen’s Place Leisure Park and I will probably go back to using the cinema in Bristol instead, as I have never had a parking fine before in my life.

“I decided to pay the £15 in the end as the letter said if I appealed and lost the fine would go back up to £100.

“I’m not going back now after the hassle I’ve had. It’s a shame as it’s a great facility, but people will go elsewhere.”

Councillor Graham Payne said at a Trowbridge Town Council’s meeting that he had received numerous complaints from people about the issue.

He said: “They have come to Trowbridge to enjoy the cinema and the food outlets, but believe the car parking policy is unacceptable.

“We have a wonderful facility used by people both young and old, but the whole experience is being tainted by a parking policy enforced by UKPC. We need to do something otherwise people will not return.”

The council resolved to write to Legal and General, developer of the leisure park, about the concerns raised.

A Legal and General spokesman said that parking was not its responsibility as it was controlled by UKPC, while UKPC said they were aware of the issue and were carrying out a review.