People power has forced a firm to pay back unfairly-issued parking fines in Corby.
Readers flooded our Facebook page and our phonelines this morning (Friday) after we began receiving complaints about the Oasis Retail Park car park in Alexandra Road, Corby.
Dozens of people got in touch with us after receiving parking charge notices of £30, rising to £60 then £120 if not paid, after they had parked their cars at the retail park.
Many said they had not even been in the car park on the day in question, or had not overstayed the time on the ticket.
But because of the way the car park works on an ANPR camera system, drivers are told they do not have to display their ticket, so many just throw them away and have no proof of the amount they paid. Several frustrated people had paid up even though they knew that their ticket had been incorrectly issued.
The car park is leased from town centre landowner Helical Bar by a company known as Secure Parking Ltd.
Although our reporters could not contact Secure Parking, they did manage to speak to Helical Bar owners who have now stepped in to ensure that incorrectly-issued tickets are refunded.
Town centre manager Dan Pickard said he had scheduled an on-site a meeting with Secure Parking bosses following the complaints and in the meantime, bosses had agreed to refund anyone who had received an incorrect notice.
He said: “The car park is leased by us to Secure Parking Ltd and they are treated as any other tenant would be.
“However, I’ve been made aware of a number of concerns and so I have stepped in and arranged to meet with Secure Parking to discuss these and to ensure shoppers are treated fairly.
“Their manager has said to me that they will cancel every ticket that’s been issued incorrectly and refund anyone who has already paid for a ticket that was issued incorrectly.
“They have raised the issue with the people who provide the ANPR technology at the car park and will be investigating.
“We acknowledge that parking can be a contentious issue and we do not use ANPR technology in the multi-storey car park.”
Angry motorists who posted their stories on our Facebook page included Mags McGarry, who was the first person to get in touch. She said: “I had two penalty notices within four months. I appealed and received an apology. Although during the appeal process the fine went up to £120 they have admitted neither should have been issued.
“What about our older generation in the town? They might not be in a position to go through the appeal process which is in writing and email form.”
Kylie Buckby posted details of her ticket proving she had paid but had then been incorrectly fined. She said: “I have one as well, and being the second in recent months I will never park there again.”
And Charleen Cruikshank said: “I just got one too. But paid at the kiosk, I remember because the queue was a mile long.”
What do I do now?
The Northants Telegraph will monitor the situation and will continue to try to get in touch with Secure Parking. As soon as we know the procedure that drivers given incorrectly-issued tickets should follow, we will let you know on the website and on our Facebook page. For now, we’ve been assured that all incorrectly-issued tickets will be refunded.