An elderly motorist has hit out at what she described as “shameful and punitive” parking measures at a town shopping centre.
The pensioner told the Herald she is devastated after having a £70 parking charge slapped on her for going over the two-hour free limit at Kirkintilloch’s Regent Centre.
Euro Car Parks is contracted by the centre to take charge of parking. An automatic number plate recognition system which takes a picture of number plates of vehicles entering and leaving the car park was set up by the firm last summer. If they have been parked for longer than the specified two hours, it issues an automatic penalty of £70 to drivers.
The 67-year-old said: “This is my first ever parking ticket. I am very law-abiding and have been driving for 50 years.
“I have obviously paid this charge right away but I do feel it is vastly excessive.
“I wonder how many businesses will survive these punitive parking measures. It’s shameful and very sad.”
She added: “I have always known parking is restricted to two hours and always do my best to adhere to this time.
“I was delayed in getting back to my car and today received a parking charge notice for £70 reduced to £40 if paid within 14 days. At the time, I was oblivious to the fact that I had parked over the designated two hours.”
She said she was unaware ‘big-brother’ style cameras had been set up to check vehicles going in and out of the car park.”
She hit out at “this sneaky set-up” and added: “Is it possibly yet another money-making scheme for a greedy retailer?”
The parking charge will deter shoppers, she said, adding: “The shops and services in Kirkintilloch are doomed if this state of affairs is allowed to proceed. We are not short of other shops to take our custom to.”
Traffic law specialists maintain many of these type of parking firms quote legislation that cannot be enforced in Scotland.
Regent Centre manager Angela McLaren said there were 180 car parking spaces in total at the shopping mall.
She added: “Only about one per cent of the motorists who park here end up going over the two-hour limit.
“We have been using Euro Car Parks for the past 15 years and have no plans to change them.”
Ms McLaren added that her door “was always open” at the centre to anyone who had an issue with parking.
She said: “I have waived the parking charge for people in the past, including one person, for instance, had been held up when she was booking a holiday in the travel agents and another person became unwell.
“If there is a genuine reason, I will look at this. But not if people are parking here and using shops outwith the centre.
“If people can’t find parking elsewhere, I would suggest they put their concerns to East Dunbartonshire Council.”