New £85 penalty fine at Wellingborough Morrisons car park
Shoppers using Morrisons’ Wellingborough car park could now be officially be hit with a £85 penalty fine if they overstay the three-hour time limit.
The town centre store had contracted in Euro Car Parks in September and the firm had been dishing out the large fines to shoppers using its Sharman Road car park who went over the maximum stay period.
But the supermarket had done so without the permission of Wellingborough Council which owns the land and leases it Morrisons – and it told the grocer to stop slapping overstayers with fines until a decision on the penalty hike was approved by the councillors.
However Morrisons can now start to reissue the fines once again after councillors on the resources committee voted to allow the superstore to impose the new penalty.
The decision was split along party lines with all six of the Conservative councillors on the committee voting in favour and the Four labour councillors voting against.
Leader of the Labour group Cllr Andrew Scarborough questioned why the retailer needed to bring in the new increased charge as he said he was a regular user and he had never seen it completely jammed.
He said: “There is no evidence presented by Morrisons to the council that they need to do this. None whatsoever.”
The previous overstay charge was £10 – meaning the fine has gone up by 700 percent. Before contracting Euro Car Parks Morrisons had employed a parking attendant who did not issue tickets but acted as a deterrent. The council report says that Morrisons had carried out customer research which said shopper parking was an issue and so decided to bring in Euro Car Parks to monitor the car park and also install an automatic number plate recognition system.
The £10 charge had been in place for 19 years without rising. Overstayers who pay within 14 days will pay £50. The new charge is only applicable on weekdays from 8am to 6pm. Under the terms of the 125-year lease the supermarket has to make the car park available to town centre shoppers as well as its own customers.
During September when the supermarket first introduced the new fine it penalised 136 shoppers who breached the parking terms.
At the meeting Cllr Adam Henley referred to the Trust Pilot website which he said had rated Euro Car Parks as 1.5 stars out of 5 and said some reviewers had called the firm ‘money pigs’ and an ‘awful company’.
The council’s assistant director Adrian Piper said he had compared the penalty fine to other areas and it appeared to be on a par and reasonable. He warned if the councillors decided to refuse the penalty fine hike it could be challenged in court.