July 24 2014 Latest news:
Monday, July 14, 2014
A crunch meeting between bosses at a parking fine company and Whitlingham Country Park could end misery for hundreds of visitors.
The park has come under fire in recent weeks after private firm Parking Eye, hired to catch visitors staying over the time they paid for, made £90,000 in the past year from fines.
That figure is just £10,000 below the amount Whitlingham Charitable Trust made from parking, which goes towards the maintenance of the popular broad.
A catalogue of complaints about the unfairness of the fines have reached this newspaper.
And issues have been complicated further by vandals targeting pay machines in the car parks, meaning they are often out of order and confusion ensues about where to pay.
But a meeting between the Broads Authority, managers of the site for the Trust, and Parking Eye will be held on Tuesday to find a way to make parking fairer for visitors.
John Organ, head of governance at the Broads Authority, said he will be demanding clearer signs in the car park at the meeting with the parking firm.
There is a rule that people can pay the extra cash if they return late to their car, but it is not widely known and many are caught out and hit with a fine.
Many visitors have already been put off going to the park, fearing a £60 fine – or £100 if it is not paid within 14 days.
One visitor Chantal Schaul, 41, from Wymondham, who was sent a parking notice, said: “I have never been back there since because I felt treated like a criminal.”
Mr Organ said if there is a genuine reason for not getting a ticket then that will be taken in to consideration by Whitlingham Charitable Trust.
Last week South Norfolk council made the decision to hold on to a £10,000 grant for the trust until the parking fine issues were eased with clearer signs at the park.
Have you been affected by the parking issues at Whitlingham Country Park? Email email@example.com