THE managers of a controversial car park have been warned new regulations could damage the town centre economy of Havant.
On Tuesday, driver Roger Wallis staged a protest in Central Retail Park after being fined £100 for leaving the site before going back to shop.
The new rules still offer free parking – at two instead of three hours – but the fine kicks in if you leave the site, even for just a few minutes.
Now a spokesman for Aldi – the busiest store at the retail park – says the company was never consulted over the change of rules.
Aldi said in a statement: ‘We are disappointed that the leaseholder at Central Retail Park did not consult us before the new parking regulations were put in place.
‘Aldi did not consent to this change and we would like to apologise to any of our shoppers who have been affected.
‘We encourage any Aldi shoppers who have been fined by UKPC to come into the store and discuss it with our store manager.’
The retail park opened in 2006 amid fears that shoppers were being drawn away from the town centre.
But Havant Borough Council insisted it would actually complement the West Street shops.
Now Councillor David Guest, deputy council leader, has voiced his concern.
He said: ‘The car park is privately owned but the council is seeking to discuss with the managing agents the approach to enforcement as we’re concerned about the impact the reported incidents may have on the town centre.’
Scores of people have been fined since the rules were changed last month.
They have complained the signs are too high and some are obscured by trees, and that the writing is too small.
Alan Mattison, of Bridge Road, Emsworth, has written to the council asking them to take steps to stop the charges.
He received a £100 fine when he parked up, went into the town centre, then went back to the retail park to buy timber from Wickes.
After receiving the fine the company lost his trade as he went to B&Q.
He said: ‘Certainly, the site is going to lose footfall and revenue, and the council will lose some credibility on how this is being managed alongside a need for regeneration of the town centre.’
Managing agent Jones Lang LaSalle did not respond to The News.