Parking fine for Christmas shopper who spent too long buying gifts

Solent Retail Park

Solent Retail Park

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A RESIDENT has spoken out about inadequate parking limit times after receiving a £90 fine for taking too long to do his Christmas shopping.

Paul Rimington, from Baffins, overstayed the two-and-a-half hour limit at Solent Retail Park, Havant, on Monday, December 19.

The retired teacher was out buying Christmas presents for his friends and family members with his wife, and left his vehicle in the car park for a total of three hours and seven minutes.

He said: ‘First of all it took us 15 minutes to find a parking space, and that time is counted as part of your stay.

‘Secondly, it was very busy in the shops because it was the Monday before Christmas.

‘I don’t believe two-and-a-half hours is long enough to do your shopping at that time of year, especially when you’re likely to be spending more time and more money inside them all.

‘We visited Next, Marks and Spencer, Mothercare, and so on, and spent a fair amount of money – only to be greeted in the New Year by a fine.’

Mr Rimington claims he went into M&S after receiving the fine, and was told by a member of staff that the store also don’t believe the parking limit is long enough.

The car park is owned by Euro Car Parks and is monitored by a number plate recognition system, which records the time each vehicle enters and leaves.

The parking charge notice amount due is £90 within 28 days, reduced to £50 if paid within 14 days of the date the letter is received by the payee.

Customers have to wait two hours before returning to the car park if they leave.

Mr Rimington, who has paid the reduced amount of £50, added: ‘Only the stores can ask for a change in the time limit around Christmas, and they must do so, or their customers will be penalised.

‘In hindsight the warning signs are noticeable, but we weren’t looking for them and didn’t expect to be punished for having a good shop.

‘We also went into Costa, which is there for people to be able to relax in afterwards. You can’t do this if you’ve got to worry about being fined.

‘Euro Car Parks aren’t interested in whether or not the time limit is appropriate.’

M&S declined to comment on the matter, as did Havant Borough Council. Euro Car Parks could not be reached.

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