Mum-of-two fined £70 after becoming trapped in city car park by heavy traffic
- Credit: Archant
A mum-of-two claims she was fined £70 after heavy traffic left her stuck in a Norwich car park for half an hour.
Natalie Gould was sent the penalty notice despite trying to leave Riverside Retail Park within her allocated time slot on Thursday, December 6 last year.
The 30-year-old had been shopping with her mother and parked near the Hobbycraft store, which allows customers to leave their car for two-and-a-half hours free of charge.
Despite returning to her vehicle with 10 minutes to spare, heavy traffic left her unable to exit the car park for another 30 minutes.
Mrs Gould, from Whissonsett, near Fakenham, said: 'There wasn't a huge amount of time left when we returned, but we didn't expect it to take 10 minutes to leave because it's such a small car park.
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'As we were walking back the traffic didn't look that bad, but by the time we pulled out, we just came to a stop.
'Everyone in the queue was letting people out of the spaces in front of us.'
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Fearing the worst, Mrs Gould contacted car park managers Highview Parking later that afternoon to explain the situation.
But she claims the company told her she would have to appeal if a penalty notice came through the post.
The company later issued a £70 fine, which Mrs Gould unsuccessfully appealed.
She then contacted the Parking on Private Land Appeals (POPLA), which carries out independent appeals on parking matters.
But on March 25 she was told her second appeal had again been unsuccessful.
The decision by POPLA states images from Highview's ANPR cameras show Mrs Gould's Hyundai Tucson entered the car park at 11.19am and left at 2.09pm.
Appeal assessor Alexandra Roby said she acknowledged Mrs Gould's version of events regarding the heavy traffic - and her evidence to support it.
But she said she was unable to verify the time it took Mrs Gould to leave the car park.
She said: 'The evidence presented to me suggests that the appellant's vehicle remained at the site for 20 minutes in excess of the maximum time permitted.'
Mrs Gould said she has since paid the fine to avoid further charges.
• Highview Parking and POPLA have been contacted for further comment