Visitor caught out by 'confusing' car park
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.
CONFUSING? Signs at Shaftesbury Road car park GIAC20120227C-001_C
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 suz.elvey@KRNmedia.co.uk or write to the address on page 2.