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‘Distressed’ 79-year-old faced paying £100 after parking for five minutes

PUBLISHED: 09:51 04 February 2020 | UPDATED: 14:42 04 February 2020

Gavin Thorne was fined £100 for stopping for 12 minutes in an Attleborough car park. Picture: Gavin Thorne

Gavin Thorne was fined £100 for stopping for 12 minutes in an Attleborough car park. Picture: Gavin Thorne

Archant

The elderly, disabled, and chronically ill are among those facing £100 car parking charges after losing appeals against a chain store’s new restrictions.

Last month, M&Co in Attleborough introduced parking enforcement to its car park, resulting in a swathe of charges for unsuspecting drivers.

Many of those caught out were visiting the neighbouring pharmacy on Queen's Square, and had been using the car park for years.

One woman, 78, did not want to be named but said she felt "tricked" by the chain, due to the lack of warning given about the parking fees.

She used the car park for less than five minutes to pick up her husband's heart medication and received a £60 notice.

Although many people have lodged appeals against the charges, the 78-year-old said she was "too scared" to do so, and feared being taken to court.

She said: "This is affecting people of all ages who are unwittingly using the car park as they have for decades.

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"A lot of them are ill and this is putting unnecessary stress on them. It's very distressing."

Others have had appeals denied, including Eddie Hughes, 79, who is facing a £100 charge.

Mr Hughes parked to pick up a prescription but said his wife also bought a pair of gloves from M&Co.

He said: "The signage is inadequate, and does not make it clear that you cannot visit other shops while parked. Everyone is up in arms about it, it's appalling."

The company has been blasted by local councillors and businesses, who fear the removal of free parking will affect already dwindling footfall in Attleborough.

County councillor Rhodri Oliver said he believed the company would struggle to enforce the charges, and that the public might have accrued legal rights to use the car park under prescriptive rights law.

He added: "We want to see free parking returned to the town. The signage does not make the conditions clear, and it is not fair to charge people for misunderstanding."

M&Co were contacted for comment.

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