More frustrated drivers have come forward with their stories of bogus fines at a Lincoln retail park — and when The Lincolnite asked the parking warden to explain the situation, he said he was “not allowed to comment”.
The Lincolnite has reported about the issues at Tritton Road Retail Park for over six years, and dodgy activity was previously uncovered, such as rule changes without warning and attendants encouraged to ‘bend the rules’ for bonuses at the car park operated by UK Parking Control (UKPC) Ltd.
We went back to the car park on Friday and tried to speak with the parking attendant directly, so UKPC — who ignored all media requests — could present their side of the story, but he said he was “not allowed” to speak to us.
Two people recently came forward after receiving parking fines which they claim are bogus. This prompted more frustrated shoppers to contact The Lincolnite to share their experiences – if you are fined, it is advised not to automatically pay it straight away – see useful advice here from MoneySavingExpert.
Jo Chambers went out shopping to Homesense with her partner on July 18 for her new home in Waddington Heath. However, when they returned to her car they were confronted by a ticket stating “vehicle owner/driver left the site”.
After appealing the fine, it was rescinded and Jo received a letter of apology, but she still wanted to raise awareness to others about the issue.
The letter from UKPC’s Appeals Department states: “We understand your frustration and appreciate the inconvenience this has caused you. It is not our intention to cause undue worry and frustration when enforcing our clients’ terms and conditions of parking.
“We have investigated your appeal based on the information submitted and whilst we feel that the parking charge was correctly issued and that we were following the guidelines and enforcement controls agreed with our client, we have decided in this instance to cancel the parking charge as a gesture of goodwill.”
Jo told The Lincolnite: “The letter of apology was a joke, stating the employee was in his every right to issue the fine, but as a gesture of goodwill they would rescind the fine, not taking any liability whatsoever.
“Surely the shops and council should confront this scam. We will not park and shop there unless we are on foot now, and if we do we take photos as evidence, which we shouldn’t need to.
“It’s the older vulnerable generation that I’m more concerned about as they are likely to panic and just pay it.”
Another driver, who wished to remain anonymous, received a ticket on September 29, stating “vehicle owner/driver left the site,” but he said: “I parked my car and did some browsing in Halfords, following by some shopping in Home Bargains, and then came (back) to a ticket on my window.
“I have emailed them twice with proof of what I did that day and got nothing back. It’s been over two weeks so I paid the £60 rather than the £100, with a follow-up email about it, but still have nothing back.”
After receiving a ticket on October 5 stating “not parked correctly within the markings of the bay or space”, another driver said: “It had no markings saying I couldn’t park there or no double yellow lines.”
Car park needs to be bigger, says retailer
The Lincolnite tried to get the perspective of retailers in the area.
Staff at ScS said they get customers in every now and again with a car parking issue and try to support them where they can.
The staff said: “There needs to be extra car parking in the area, as well as in the retail park, or the flexibility to go off site. The wardens are doing a good job.
“People shouldn’t be going off site, but ultimately this car park isn’t big enough for the retailers and customers.”
There was nobody available to provide a comment at Homesense, Halfords, Pets at Home, Carpet Right, Oak Furnitureland or Smyths Toys.
Every time The Lincolnite has approached UKPC for a statement, there has been virtually no response, including on Monday and Tuesdays October 11 and 12. The only automated response came after also contacting the complaints email, saying: “Please be advised we have received your appeal. Please allow up to 35 days for a response.”
We went to the car park on Tuesday, October 12 and, whilst there, another man received a fine — but no attendant was to be seen. They appear to stay covert in their unmarked cars in order to avoid confrontation with shoppers.
Although an attendant did confirm to the reporter that he was from UKPC on Friday, October 15, he claimed he was “not allowed to comment” and advised contacting the company via the website.
In addition, when you try to phone the company and choose from the various different options, an automated voice informs you that it cannot be dealt with on the phone, and appeals must be made in writing.
UKPC says “we pride ourselves to alleviate your parking difficulties”, but we, and many customers, have struggled to get an official reply from them.
The firm is run by Rupert and Amanda Williams, who enjoy a luxury lifestyle and a string of fancy cars, according to The Mirror. The Mirror also reported last year that the parking firm claims taxpayer cash despite making £1.3 million profit in 2019.
If you have encountered an issue at this car park, please contact us at [email protected] with as many details and evidence as possible.
Not a new problem
In November 2018, residents said they were planning to boycott the car park after they introduced new £100 fines for “leaving the site”.
Drivers at the time said they had not been warned about the change of rules, except for a small yellow notice on the signs at the car park.
Earlier the same year, in April 2018, it was reported that UK Parking Control was fined almost £6,000 for refusing to provide CCTV footage from a Lincoln car park that would have helped an investigation into fly-tipping.
The car park’s operator UKPC was also embroiled in a scandal in 2015 where drivers appealed against fraudulent parking tickets after revelations from The Lincolnite.
A former warden previously told The Lincolnite in 2015 how attendants were encouraged to ‘bend the rules’ for bonuses.