A couple handed a parking fine after being held up in a traffic jam have vowed not to shop at a Mansfield retail park again.
Pensioners David Burditt, aged 76, and his wife Angela, 68, were left reeling after being sent the £50 fine by Parking Eye, which monitors parking at St Peter’s Retail Park, Mansfield town centre.
Motorists can park for 45 minutes for free at the site, with CCTV cameras monitoring when vehicles arrive and depart.
In December, the Bilsthorpe couple visited four shops on St Peter’s within their allotted 45-minute stay, but their Peugeot 206 became stuck in a huge queue of cars waiting to leave.
Mrs Burditt said: “We couldn’t believe it. Had we gone over the time because we were shopping then fair enough, but we were over by about 15 minutes because the car park was gridlocked.
“Everybody was Christmas shopping, so it was really busy.
“It would be interesting to see if anyone else was given a fine.
“I counted that we waited for the traffic lights leading onto the ring road changing four times before we were able to exit the park.
“We were sent the fine on Thursday, December 30, and had until Tuesday, January 5, to pay it or it would go up to £85 – and we panicked and paid it.
“It’s been a very costly lesson not to shop at this location again. We have shopped in Mansfield all our lives, spending thousands of pounds over the years.
“Mansfield repays us by allowing private car park firms to profit from this busy time of year by fining us.”
Mrs Burditt says she had written to a number of the shops on St Peter’s, but they had responded by saying they could not help.
She has also written to Mansfield District Council, but has not yet received a response.
A spokesman for Parking Eye said: “People using this car park have a responsibility to make sure they do not exceed the free parking limit otherwise a parking charge will become payable.
“If however, they feel they should not have received a charge due to mitigating circumstances, we encourage people to submit an appeal, and instructions about how to do this are detailed on all communication and on our website.”
Were you given a ticket in the run-up to Christmas at St Peter’s Retail Park because of traffic? Call reporter Nick Frame at the Chad on 01623 450283.