Visitor caught out by 'confusing' car park

Profile image for Whitstable Times

By Whitstable Times | Friday, March 02, 2012, 08:00

A BUSINESSMAN who received a parking fine on a trip to Whitstable is warning other drivers to be aware of a "confusing" town centre car park.

David Fitzpatrick, 60, an antiques dealer from London, parked in the Shaftesbury Road car park when he visited a client and purchased a ticket from Canterbury City Council's ticket machine.

However, when he returned 40 minutes later to find a £50 fine attached to his windscreen he realised he had parked in spaces owned by the Peter Cushing Wetherspoon pub in Oxford Street.

The pub, which opened in August, has a row of spaces in between two rows owned by the council.

Mr Fitzpatrick said: "I feel it's unfair. I asked the council for my 70p back.

"I was only joking but really I am entitled to it if you think about it. The meter you pay into is at the back of the car park, not at the front where the council ones are.

"The person I spoke to at the council even said it was causing confusion."

Signs facing Shaftesbury Road show which organisation each part of the car park belongs to, but as Mr Fitzpatrick pointed out these cannot be read from inside the car park.

An additional sign above the council's Pay and Display machine reads: "This car park is managed by Canterbury City Council and has no connection with the adjacent Peter Cushing Public House car park managed by Euro Car Parks."

Mr Fitzpatrick tried to appeal the fine with Euro Car Parks, but paid when they refused to cancel it.

He said: "I like Whitstable and this won't put me off coming here but I think other people need to be aware of it so it doesn't happen to them."

When the Times contacted The Peter Cushing, bar manager Deborah Traher said this was the first time anyone had spoken to them directly about a problem.

However, she said after talks with the council "a while back" Wetherspoons had agreed to put up extra signs in the car park.

She said: "It is clearly signposted but we will look into it again now that we have had a complaint."

Council spokesman Rob Davies said: "We are aware of the situation and have a meeting arranged with representatives from Wetherspoons next month to try to resolve it.

"In the meantime we have put lots of extra signs up to make it clear which car park is which, and we would urge people to take an extra few seconds to double check they are buying the right ticket. If anyone has received a fine while in our car park that they believe was incorrectly issued, they should get in touch with our parking department."

Have you been caught out by the double car park or do you think the signs are quite clear? E-mail or write to the address on page 2.



  • Profile image for drivers

    I have won my appeal to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. The Council has given up fighting my appeal. I am applying for costs against the Council on the basis that its policy of fining visitors who buy the wrong ticket is totally unreasonable. There are no proper signs and the Council at last appears to concede this. My big thanks go to all who have contacted me with evidence that they have also paid at the wrong machine.
    Will the Council and Wetherspoons continue to issue penalty notices to visitors who pay at the wrong machine? Or will they improve signage? I will keep you updated and please visit my website and blog at

    By drivers at 15:43 on 22/12/13

  • Profile image for visitors

    I have started a campaign to stop visitors who have paid getting a penalty notice because they paid at the 'wrong' machine. The Wetherspoons car park sits between two Council car parks and it is easy to get the wrong ticket. I know of six visitors who got caught out and received penalty notices, because the signage is totally inadaqaute and there is no obvious boundary between the three car parks. This scam must stop. if you get caught out, I can help you. Please visit my website and add a blog.

    By visitors at 12:03 on 06/11/13

  • Profile image for drivers

    I have been caught out in the same way. As a visitor to Whitstable, I parked and paid at the highly visible Euro Parks machine, not realizing there are two car parks in different ownerships with different pay machines. After visiting the High Street, I found a yellow penalty ticket for £25. The Council has rejected my appeal and so I will take this to the Traffic Penalty Tribunal. If you have found this car park confusing please contact me at

    By drivers at 16.50 on 21/08/13

    By drivers at 16:48 on 21/08/13

  • Profile image for darren187

    omg! I've just been stung by this too! I was in a rush for an appointment in Whitstable High Street and saw the car park/s available whilst looking for a space. I simply drove in and walked to the nearest ticket visible machine which was across the low metal fence/barrier in the adjacent council owned Shaftesbury Road car park. I paid £2 for my ticket and went to my appointment. An hour and a half later I came back to my truck to find a ticket on it from Euro car parks! In hindsight, had I not have been in a rush I would have taken the time to look at little closer at the signage, which was clear 'after' I realised my mistake. The ECP car park blends in very well with the council owned parts. Begrudgingly I have paid the fine, (although the ECP sign says it's £70 they only asked for £40!). Some constructive criticism would be for ECP to make people more aware about where they park! Fence off the area with a higher fence, or mark the fence with small signs to indicate more clearly you are entering a private car park.

    By darren187 at 11:30 on 25/07/13

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