JOURNAL readers can claim a victory for common sense this week after it was announced that the time limit for parking at Sankt Augustin Retail Park would increase to two hours with immediate effect.
People from as far afield as Glasgow got in touch with us to complain about the parking, which allowed only one hour to visit five shops.
Lynn Stewart, of Harrowby Lane, was one such person. She went there with her husband John as a birthday treat.
John was given a blue badge after he was diagnosed with a terminal brain tumour in July last year. He could not walk, was deaf, and blind in one eye.
Lynn said: “I believed the only place you can’t park is in a loading area, you think you’re covered with your blue badge.”
“John was devastated at receiving a fine. He had never had anything like that before.”
Lynn sent a copy of the disabled badge to Parking Eye to appeal, but she had already shredded her receipts and her appeal was rejected. She paid the money out of worry.
She said: “It was a difficult time, I just wanted to get rid of it.”
Lynn was far from being the only reader who did not realise that blue badges for the disabled do not count at the retail park.
Neville Benton, of Toll Bar Road, Marston, also received a ticket after parking for longer than permitted.
He said: “I couldn’t actually believe it. I put the blue badge in the window. There are marked out disabled spaces so the blue badge should apply.”
Neville, who struggles to walk for more than a few yards, takes longer than most to do his shopping but he said he has lived in Grantham for 12 years and has never had a problem using his blue badge before.
He added: “Thinking back I did wonder why all the disabled bays were empty. Surely we can ask them to offer disabled people a bit of extra time – that would be nice and could encourage more shoppers to go there.”
Parking Eye insist their rules are in place for a reason. They said they are perfectly fair to all, and were pleased to respond to Journal readers’ wishes.
A spokesman for Parking Eye said: ParkingEye began management of the Sankt Augustin Retail Park in April of this year.”
“We recognised that the retail park could benefit from an increased parking time, and began immediate negotiations to bring in a two-hour time limit.”
“Whilst negotiations were in progress, we introduced an immediate 30 minutes grace period – so no parking charges have been issued to anyone using the car park for less than one-and-a-half hours since April. We are pleased to announce that negotiations have now concluded, and the parking time at Sankt Augustin Retail Park will increase to two hours with immediate effect – though the signage will only formally announce the new timings in a couple of weeks once replaced.”
“We are delighted that within just two months of taking on management of the Sankt Augustin Retail Park, we have been able to double the amount of free parking that was in place previously.”