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Driver's anger at confusion over 'free' car park after £100 fine

PUBLISHED: 11:59 16 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:13 17 August 2019

The car park on Bridge Road. Photo: Google Maps

The car park on Bridge Road. Photo: Google Maps

Archant

A man has hit out against a £100 fine amid confusion over whether or not an Oulton Broad car park is free or pay-and-display.

New signs at the Outlon Broad car park warning drivers to pay-and-display or face a fine. Photo: Matthew NixonNew signs at the Outlon Broad car park warning drivers to pay-and-display or face a fine. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Rajivan Rakunathan, an employee at the Shell garage on the same road, was fined £100 for parking in the car park on Bridge Road for just half an hour last month.

He said: "It's an empty car park, I thought we could park there. In my mind it was still free parking, but then I parked the car and got a fine.

"I just want to know if it is actually free or not."

In August last year local businesses caused confusion when they claimed the car park, which was previously owned by the Winelodge Hotel before it closed down, had been made free.

East Suffolk Council has launched an investigation after realising they did not recieve planning applications for pay-and-display machines and signage. Photo: Matthew NixonEast Suffolk Council has launched an investigation after realising they did not recieve planning applications for pay-and-display machines and signage. Photo: Matthew Nixon

Mr Rakunathan said: "I'm angry because I thought it was free. If you drive in, turn around and come straight out without parking, you will still get a notice.

"I know someone else who went to get dinner from the fish and chips shop next to the car park, they were in there for ten minutes and got fined £100."

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Signage states that the fine will be reduced to £60 if it is paid within two weeks.

Several local businesses have said there was a period where the car park could be used free of charge in the last year. They added the automated cameras, signage, and pay-and-display machine were only introduced in the last month.

These measures were introduced by the National Parking Enforcement, who issue parking tickets and manage the car park.

Jonathan Lecaille, National Parking Enforcement managing director, said: "It is a pay and display car park just like most other car parks.

"We do not own the car park and simply manage it on the owner's behalf."

Tony Burlingham, director of Winelodge Lowestoft Limited, said his company sold the car park earlier this year.

It is believed the site was bought in February 2019 by south London-based SLS Properties.

When approached, a spokesperson for SLS Properties declined to comment on the car park.

Have you been fined at the car park? Email reporter Matthew Nixon at matthew.nixon@archant.co.uk

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