Car parking adds £30 to shopping bill

The one hour sign in the Asda car park in North Shields.

The one hour sign in the Asda car park in North Shields.

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A NORTH Shields resident has criticised a car parking company after she received a £30 fine.

Vera Donnelly was given the fine after spending too long shopping at the North Shields branch of Asda.

She was at the store on November 30, but five days before Christmas she was sent a £30 fine through the post for parking for more than an hour.

She said: “I will adhere to the law and pay for it, but I am not happy about it and other shoppers need to be aware of it.

“It takes longer than one hour to do a supermarket shop, especially at this time of year, but the signs aren’t in your eye line, so you don’t know they are there.

“You would only see them if you look up when you are walking.”

The total time she was in the car park was one hour and 26 minutes, but with time restrictions of just an hour, the automatic number plate recognition device was activated and a fixed penalty was issued.

“I want to let people know about it,” she added.

“I bet there are other people who have been caught out by it.

“I don’t expect to be allowed to park there from 9am to 5pm, but I expect a reasonable amount of time to do my shopping, especially at this time of year.”

The private car park is run by Excel Parking Services Limited.

A spokesperson for Excel said: “The car park at ASDA North Shields is a shoppers’ car park with a maximum stay of one hour.

“This is clearly displayed on signage at the entrance and repeated throughout the car park.

“This maximum stay period is enforced by Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) cameras.

“These work by analysing number plate information and calculating stay durations.

“On the day in question, Mrs Donnelly entered the car park at 16.46pm and exited 18.09pm.

“As a result the PCN (parking charge notice) was raised and sent.

“Since issuing we have had no contact with the customer, however, should she wish to appeal this charge we advise Mrs Donnelly to contact us and we will be happy to investigate further.”

Asda added that the reason parking restrictions are in force in a number of their branches is to prevent motorists taking advantage of the facilities and to be able to ensure their shoppers have spaces to park when visiting the shop.