THE owner of a prime city centre car park will rip up a customer’s penalty ticket, even though he overstayed.
David Whittle was furious when he was given a £90 penalty notice for staying longer than the two hours permitted at the Westgate Island car park in Gloucester.
But after the intervention of the Gloucester Citizen, owner Richard Dorman said he would withdraw the charge.
Mr Whittle, 63, from Abbeydale spent around an hour being fitted for a suit in Tuxedo Junction on the island, which is in the middle of the junction where the Over Causeway and Westgate Street meet.
Then he wandered up Westgate Street for a coffee and to meet his daughter Rhianne, before heading back to Westgate Island, where he shopped at the Jollyes pet food store. The whole visit took two hours and 38 minutes.
Then a week later he received a £90 charge in the post because he had exceeded the two-hour limit.
He paid £50, as a discount is offered for paying within 14 days.
“So much for trying to shop in my hometown,” he said. “I won’t feel guilty about shopping in Cheltenham or Bath in future and needless to say, I won’t be doing business in Westgate Street again.”
Mr Dorman, who bought and improved the site in 2003 when DIY retailer Homebase left, said enforcement is not there for customers like Mr Whittle.
“We have 238 car parking spaces and if there was no enforcement, we would probably have 238 people who work in the middle of Gloucester parking there all day, free-of-charge, while shoppers couldn’t get a space,” he said.
“The managers of the shops know that if someone is about to overrun and they are genuinely shopping here, they can arrange for them to be able to stay longer without getting a charge notice.
“It’s not about penalising shoppers – we just want to make sure there is space for them.”
Mr Whittle paid the £50 charge after his visit on November 23.
The car park is at the western gateway to the city and only a short walk from the city centre where there is paid-for on-street and off-street car parking.
Mr Dorman brought in clampers to deal with the problem around 10 years ago but brought in new regulations in time for the opening of the Dunelm store in 2005.
Mr Whittle was moved to contact the Gloucester Citizen after the city council’s Labour group pledged to campaign for free-of-charge parking in the council’s car parks after 3pm.