RIDICULOUSLY short parking times coupled with computerised £90 fines is killing what should be a thriving and bustling retail park, say furious Sankt Augustin customers AND businesses.
Many are not happy because with five stores to look around, 60 minutes is just not long enough.
Denise Smith, of Manor Drive, Harlaxton, has shopped at the retail park since it opened, and was shocked to find a parking fine demand landing on her doorstep this week.
She said: “I go to the shops every other week. One hour just isn’t long enough to go in all the shops. It’s ridiculous. There’s no way I could get around all the shops in one hour.
“The reason I go there is because they are cheaper. Now I’ve saved nothing.”
Although the restricted parking time has not changed, new company – ParkingEye – took over the enforcement of the one-hour rule on behalf of the landlords in April.
The company uses cameras and automatic number plate recognition technology to send fines to people’s homes.
Sarah Tatchell, of Hill Avenue, Grantham, and Beth Mayhew, of Dexter Avenue, Grantham, were not aware of the strict enforcement of the parking.
Sarah said: “If you hadn’t said anything I wouldn’t have noticed. We’ve been here an hour and haven’t been into Home Bargains yet.”
Beth added: “One hour isn’t long enough. If you come here on a Saturday you could spend 30 minutes queueing in Next. They’ve got to take that into account.”
The Journal understands that several stores are now speaking to the landlord to get the time restriction eased.
Home Bargains regional manager Jonathan Eckersley is unhappy that the parking is affecting their trade.
He said: “We can see a marked difference since ParkingEye started enforcing the one hour rule. I don’t think it was strictly enforced before.
“I can’t understand why it’s one hour when it’s two hours everywhere else. Surely it has to change?”
Mr Eckersley said more people have also registered parking complaints with the store.
He said: “There’s been a negative response from customers. I’d be worried about the store’s viability if it isn’t changed very quickly. Hopefully it will be sorted before it’s too late.”
Assistant manager of Sports Direct, Maria Hart, agrees that the parking times should be increased.
She said: “Some people spend quite a while in here. Maybe it should be an hour and a half or two hours.”
She added: “I told a member of staff to park there this morning, I didn’t realise and just put a note in the window. Now we’re going to get a ticket.”
Next is also talking to ParkingEye and the landlords to try to get the time limit increased to two hours. A spokesman said: “It’s something that we can’t control at all, but we don’t like to see it affecting our customers.”
A spokesman for Parking Eye said the rules have remained the same since they took over management of the car park, and they remain clearly signposted.
He said: “We operate a very open and fair appeals system, and are more than happy to consider any appeal from any motorist who feels they have incorrectly received a parking charge from Parking Eye.”
HAVE your say – is the one hour limit fair? Have you been fined? Tell Journal readers next week!