Morrisons is advising shoppers to get in touch if they've had any problems after recent changes to parking management at its Horsefair car park in Wetherby attracted criticism on local social media.
Three readers complained about recent changes after receiving parking tickets with a fine of £85 after falling foul of parking cameras at the Horsefair Centre which were first installed around six weeks ago.
But, despite fears from some people that shoppers are not allowed to park twice at Horsefair in any 24-hour period, that is not the case.
Morrisons are keen to clarity the situation. In fact, the maximum parking period is two hours and shoppers are not allowed to return within two hours - but, crucially, that stipulation aside, people can park for free as many times as they want even within the same 24-hour period.
Since the Wetherby News began raising the issue, two of the affected customers have complained and had their fines over-turned on appeal by ParkingEye, the company which now oversees how visitors use the car park.
And Morrisons is keen to encourage shoppers to let them know if they experience any problems.
A Morrisons spokesperson said: “Customers told us they were having difficulty finding a space at busy times, so we introduced a new car park management system and also invested in improvements to the Cluster of Nuts car park to boost the number of spaces available for visitors.
“We will continue to monitor the parking situation at our Wetherby store but if anyone believes they have been unfairly fined they should speak to our customer services team.”
Several readers had earlier gone on Facebook to express annoyance at the use of Automatic Number Plate Recognition in a car park which Morrisons allows to be used by all shoppers.
The signs placed by ParkingEye, the largest supplier of ANPR in the UK, specify that the maximum stay in any 24-hour period for parking is two hours.
One Wetherby resident who was caught out, Becca Keenan, told the paper her fine claimed she had parked for more than 15 hours.
She said: “I came home to a letter from ParkingEye telling me I’d parked in Morrisons for 15 hours from 15:43pm to 7:22am the following day. I definitely didn’t do this as I do have a life!”
After appealing to ParkingEye, she was informed the fine had been rescinded.
Since the Wetherby News contacted both Morrisons and ParkingEye, another customer, Fiona Smith, has also had her fine over-turned.
A spokesperson for ParkingEye said: “Car park users enter into a contract – as per the signage on site – to not exceed free parking limits. A parking charge becomes payable if the terms and conditions are not adhered to. We operate an audited appeals process and encourage people to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances.
“In the case of Fiona Smith an appeal for this charge has been received and is in the process of being cancelled.”
A Morrisons spokesperson said the aim was to create better parking.
The spokesperson said: “Drivers still get two hours’ free parking but we have moved from a manned patrol to cameras and have signage in place to remind customers of the time limit.
“We also funded Leeds City Council’s transformation of the adjacent Hallfield Lane lorry park into the new Cluster of Nuts car park. This new facility offers around 160 free short and long stay parking spaces of up to four hours.”
But another affected shopper, Clare Gregory said she was still angry about receiving a fine for parking.
And other readers entered the debate on Facebook.
Fiona A Burgess said: “If you need to go back and get something then you should be within your rights. It’s put me off in case I get fined. Morrisons are losing out as people will go elsewhere.”