A FURIOUS disabled driver has slammed Euro Car Parks for not clearly displaying signs stating blue badge holders have to pay to park at the Riverside Shopping Centre.
James Cox told the Observer disabled drivers were being ‘ripped off’ by the operator after the firm decided to scrap free parking for blue badge holders in April.
Euro Car Park bosses softened their stance a month later after Evesham Riverside Shopmobility, which has been based on the top floor of the car park since 2000, intervened.
Blue badge holders, who are also Shopmobility members, can park at the Riverside Shopping Centre for free but non-members have to pay to park in the car park.
However, Mr Cox claimed a number of residents have been hit with parking fines because there were no signs clearly stating blue badge holders and non Shopmobility members have to pay for parking.
“They had no signage clearly displaying that they had changed – after decades – to charge for parking,” he said.
“After my first appeal, I thought I had been turned down because the system had made an error.
“I then made enquiries of how they had sneaked in this charge without suitable signage to advise and the lady in the mobility shop showed me a pile of fines good local people who support our town are being chased for payment.
“If signage was clear we all would have paid, but under these circumstances all of us are being ripped off with threats of court action.”
In response, Sam Lawrence from GVA, which manages the car park on behalf of Euro Car Parks, said: “A new car park usage agreement was put in place in April this year, offering three hours’ free parking for disabled badge holders using the Shop Mobility service.
“The site is monitored by an Automated Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) system which reads a vehicle’s registration details and matches them with the number entered by motorists at a ticket machine.
“To ensure that disabled badge holders are able to take advantage of this free parking period, as per signage displayed around the car park, they are asked to enter their details in a dedicated console in the Shop Mobility unit.
“This will register their vehicle details with the ANPR system and ensure they are not charged.
“Penalty charge notifications are issued automatically if no matching details are found on the system and having discussed this issue with Euro Car Parks, all currently issued penalty charge notifications issued to disabled badge holders to date will be cancelled.
“We will review the signage provision on site and general awareness of these measures to ensure that advice to disabled badge holders is displayed clearly going forward.”