Going parking mad
SHOPPERS in Royal Wootton Bassett are angry after being stung by what they say are extortionate sums for parking in a car park behind a Morrisons store.
Customers using the car park are shocked at how little time they have to shop before they have to return to their vehicles, and the £100 fines they face for over-staying the 30-minute limit. They are not allowed to return within the hour.
Steve Miller’s wife, Sandra, was sent a letter telling her she had to pay £100 after she returned because she had forgotten to buy a couple of items from the shop.
The 53-year-old lorry driver from Glenville Close said: “She went to Morrisons to pick up some bits and pieces and parked in the car park behind the shop.
“When she got home she realised she had forgotten something, a bottle of milk or something similar, and she went back to the shop.
“A few weeks later she got a notice telling her she was fined because she returned to the car park 53 minutes after leaving it – seven minutes before she was allowed to return there.
“It’s extortionate. Especially when you can park at Sainsbury’s and buy a ticket for a couple of pence.”
Liz Eastgate’s elderly mother is in her 90s and has difficulty walking.
When she parked at the car park, which is owned by private parking company Premier Park, last month she thought that her disabled badge would allow her the usual three hours to complete her shopping.
Liz said: ”I don’t think she was aware that there was a time limit. I think it was before all the signs were up. She can only move very slowly and she thought she would be able to go through the back, which she wasn’t, and then she had to walk around the front.
“By the time she had got her things together, queued up to pay and got back into the car she had exceeded the limit.”
Town councillor Chris Wannell has been dealing with angry car parkers. He said: “The costs are unreasonable and disproportionate. After three weeks the cost works out at £5 a minute for parking there.
“For an elderly person, or a mother and her pram, to get around the shop, queue up and return to the car after packing up their things takes longer than 30 minutes.”
Residents have also approached North Wiltshire MP James Gray, who has written to the CEO of Morrisons on their behalf.
The land, owned by Anthony Pang, was leased to Morrisons and the new store was opened in August.
But the car park is run by Premier Park, which uses cameras to time how long cars are parked.
A spokesman for Morrisons said: “Unfortunately we don’t own or operate the car park. However, we completely agree that the penalty charges are unreasonable and the time allowed is not long enough. We would advise our customers to use other car parks close by.
“In the meantime we will also contact the landlord to try and persuade him to review the parking arrangements.”
Mr Pang originally wanted to install a car wash behind the Morrisons store, but when the planning application was rejected he arranged for the space to be run by a car park company for customers using the store.
He said: ”Customers using the car park have 30 minutes’ free parking which Morrisons asked us to provide. We are looking into it and are working with Morrisons and Premier Park to find a solution.”
Premier Park was unable to comment on the issue at the time of going to print.
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