‘Disgusted’: Family hit with £60 fine for spending 13 minutes looking for a car park space

‘Disgusted’: Family hit with £60 fine for spending 13 minutes looking for a car park space


Martin Lewis explains council and private company parking fines

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The Sutcliffes took a family break to Cornwall back in August this year and headed to the busy town of Newquay. After visiting three or four full car parks they tried one more for just over ten minutes, hoping another driver might leave so they could take their spot. 

Again unsuccessful, they left the car park before eventually finding a space nearby.

But weeks after the holiday to their shock they received a letter demanding £60 from Smart Parking, the operator of the car park they had driven around without parking.

And despite the pleas of the family, Smart Parking are refusing to refund the amount, saying that they are following the rules. 

Julie Sutcliffe, 51, spoke of her shock at the fine, saying: “When we got back from our holidays I opened a letter saying we had a £60 fine for parking for 13 minutes without paying. 

“This was the time we had spent driving round.

“I appealed, saying at no point had we stopped, never mind turned our engine off. 

“(But) our appeal was refused. To say I’m disgusted is a huge understatement.”

Smart Parking explained their position, saying: “Smart Parking are proud members of the British Parking Association and strictly follow its guidelines.

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“At Newquay car park we utilise a state-of-the-art ANPR parking management system to ensure genuine customers can always find a place to park.”

The Sutcliffes paid the fine in order to avoid a long drawn out process if they were to try to fight the notice. 

“I thought I’d pay it as I didn’t want the worry of taking it further,” Sutcliffe said. “They are a big company and we are a family.”

However Smart Parking refused to budge and would not refund the money on appeal.

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