Corby car park operators back down over number plate error again

The old Co-op car park.
The old Co-op car park.

The firm behind a controversial Corby car park has backed down over a number plate mistake for the second time in two months.

Smart Parking, who run the old Co-Op car park, has cancelled a ticket they gave to Leon Gibbs despite saying it was valid.

Mr Gibbs, 41, paid the correct amount to park for 14 minutes in the car park on August 26, but his 13-year-old son mistakenly entered the registration of their second family car and they were fined.

He said: “Three weeks after parking there we received a letter saying we had to pay about £75, and then it was £140, and then £150.

“It was letter after letter and we were worried about a CCJ (County Court Judgment).

“We have had tickets before in the past where we forgot to pay and we have paid because we knew we were in the wrong.

“But here we actually did pay and we felt hard done by [to be fined].”

Mr Gibbs contacted the Northants Telegraph after a pensioner had her fine cancelled after mis-typing one digit of her registration.

Despite letters threatening court action, Smart Parking have now cancelled Mr Gibbs’ charge as a ‘gesture of goodwill’.

The Corby man added: “If it’s a genuine mistake they should show some common sense in the first place.”

A Smart Parking spokesman said: “At the Corby Co-Op car park Smart Parking operates an ANPR parking management system which monitors cars entering and exiting the car park and ensures that motorists adhere to the terms and conditions of the site.

“The signs in the car park indicate that motorists must add their correct registration number into the payment machines when parking.

“In the case of Mr Gibbs, he did not do this and so correctly received a valid charge.

“However, as an act of goodwill on this occasion we have cancelled his charge.

“We would remind motorists that when parking in a private car park they should always read the terms and conditions of use before deciding to remain on-site.”

After Smart Parking cancelled the charge, the Northants Telegraph asked the firm how many tickets they had overturned and if they would cancel any other cases where people had made the same error.

The company is yet to respond.

The car park has been at the centre of a long-running controversy between drivers and Smart Parking.

When the store shut in January 2016, many were parking there for free.

But by the end of March Smart Parking took over the running of it and started enforcing charges.

Many motorists told the Northants Telegraph there was no indication of charges and that they were shocked to receive a ticket.

Hundreds hoped that a legal loophole would write off their tickets.

An independent appeals officer ruled the firm did not give drivers enough notice of the charges before enforcing them.

But when we asked Smart Parking to write off any tickets from the first two weeks, the firm refused.