Car park confusion leads to fines fury

Merchant Gate multi storey car park.'w4364a105
Merchant Gate multi storey car park.'w4364a105

CONFUSION over parking rules at a city centre multi-storey has led to motorists being hit with fines.

Wakefield Council bosses have admitted the arrangements at the Merchant Gate multi-storey are “unusual” and led to some motorists being fined for not displaying a ticket.

The car park is divided into three sections, one of which is used for commuters using Westgate Railway Station. In that part of the car park, two tickets are issued, one is a permit which must be displayed in the car.

But a number of drivers have displayed the wrong ticket or no ticket at all, the council said.

Now a company is threatening to withdraw thousands of pounds a year it spends using the car park after launching an appeal over three fines.

Neil Charlesworth, chairman of printing firm the Charlesworth Group, said: “We make regular trips through Wakefield to get to London.

“It is around 200 trips a year but we shouldn’t have to put up with this and we are considering taking the trains through Manchester instead. I think there will be other companies having problems with this.”

Mr Charlesworth said it was dark in the car park and he could not tell which ticket to display in the car on January 7.

When he returned to the car park, his ticket jammed in the machine and a parking attendant reset the equipment, allowing him to print a receipt. But he still received a fine.

A council spokesman said any complaints or appeals would be investigated. He said: “Parking arrangements within Merchant Gate are unusual as there are three separate areas of parking within the same facility, one of which is the rail zone, which is to service Westgate Station.

“A two-ticket system was introduced in this section at the request of East Coast Main Line, whose customers use this section of the car park, where a permit is to remain on display in the vehicle at all times.

“This has led to a number of parking notices being issued where some customers have either failed to display anything or have displayed the wrong ticket.

“The vast majority of customers have however managed to use the car park correctly.

“The parking zones are colour-coded with signage on entering and throughout the car park informing customers of what to do and where to go.”