Motorists threaten never to return to Staithes after car park complaints pile up

Anger is mounting over the way a car park at a picturesque village near Whitby is being run.

Monday, 28th September 2020, 10:41 am
Updated Monday, 28th September 2020, 10:42 am
MP for Scarborough and Whitby Robert Goodwill is concerned about the way the car park in Staithes is being run.

Visitors who have driven into the privately-owned car park at Bank Top in Staithes have reported being slapped with fines if they have not paid within 10 minutes.

Some have said they have been fined even if they have driven into the car park but then changed their minds and driven away without parking up.

MP for Whitby and Scarborough Robert Goodwill says he has received between 20 and 30 complaints about the situation, with some tourists vowing never to visit Staithes again after falling foul of the car park’s strict rules.

He said some people have driven in believing they can pay online using their phones.

On discovering they can only pay that way if they want to park all day - they have left or gone to find some change so that they can pay by cash.

But if they have been in the car park for more than 10 minutes without paying, they have been fined.

"This is an example of how car parking firms can prey on unsuspecting motorists who have every intention of paying to park,” said Mr Goodwill.

"People have gone in and found they need change so they have gone to try to get some change but by the time they do that, the 10 minutes has elapsed and they are lumbered with a fine.

"This has been very misleading for many people and I've had between 20 and 30 complaints from people who had expected to pay but because of misleading signage, have been caught out and feel very aggrieved.

Mr Goodwill has suggested to Scarborough Borough Council that they install a sign in their car park, which is next to this one, warning motorists of the situation in the privately-owned car park.

A Facebook group formed for people who are concerned about the situation has so far attracted more than 100 members.

They include Jackie Monte, who visited Staithes recently and ended up with a fine.

“No allowance is made for how busy the car park might be on a particular day,” she said.

“Attempts to pay online are fruitless as the signal is dreadful and payments can only be made in this way for stays longer than 24 hours.”

The Whitby Gazette has contacted the firm that runs the car park - I Park Services Limited - but has had no response.

In a letter from the firm to Mr Goodwill - seen by the Whitby Gazette - it says the 10-minute term was in place based on previous experience of drivers parking and failing to pay, paying late or paying when leaving.

The letter says the company extended the term to 20 minutes in August but has not publicised that fact “as we would have additional costs associated with change of signage and other associated costs in the compliance field with the approved trade association”.

The letter also says drivers who go in and then change their minds can appeal their fines.

It says the firm has cancelled over 60 fines where drivers have left the car park within 30 minutes of arriving.

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