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Big Brother’s Watching…

November 3, 2010
Didsbury Parking

Didsbury Parking

Didsbury and West Didsbury are great places. We’ve got a lot on our doorsteps – great shops, restaurants, bars, festivals etc etc. What we also have on our doorsteps, though, are a lot of cars. More cars than areas like Didsbury and West Didsbury could ever conceiveably have imagined. Although some properties benefit from off- road parking, many don’t.

Add into the mix multi-occupancy properties, with more than one car and there becomes a problem. More cars than there is kerb space.

Add into the mix successful businesses that attract clients & customers from outside of the area, customers and clients who invest money in our local economy – but with cars, and needing a parking space.

Add into the mix business owners who’ve chosen to set up shop (figuratively speaking) in Didsbury or West Didsbury and who provide employment for workers – with cars, who need parking spaces.

See the problem?

It’s a problem Didsbury Village has wrestled with, and one that West Didsbury is currently embroiled in. At the last Public Meeting about the proposed Residents’ Parking Scheme, Aldi in Didsbury was cited as being a good example of how the car/parking situation could be alleviated. Two hours FREE parking for customers of Aldi or people using the Didsbury amenities. Brilliant. We thoroughly endorse this.

We’ve also no problem with the prominent signage which explains that you’ve two hours of free parking. If we go over that, by say eleven minutes…

Eleven Minutes

Eleven Minutes

… we’ve no problem with that. We’ll get a ticket and pay up.

But – when Big Brother tactics are used, that’s a different matter. Don’t park in the car park next to Aldi and expect a man (or woman) walking round, noting down your time of arrival. We – perhaps naively – made that mistake when we last parked there to watch the last Merseyside Derby in The Dog & Partridge (that’s another story!). Although only a short hop away from said Dog & Partridge to Aldi car Park, we must have been a bit tardy, because a few days later, we received this through this post –

Aldi Car Park

Aldi Car Park

No parking ticket. Simply a notice to cough up £70 because we’d been there 11 minutes longer than permitted. Now, I don’t often resort to profanities in a blog because I belive there are usually more eloquent ways to express yourself. But, on  this occasion – for fuck’s sake! £70 for 11 minutes! Daylight robbery in our book.

So – be warned. You may get your two hours “free” – the irony being that we’re almost grateful that we can park where live, work, shop, play these days – but woebetide you go a minute over. If you do, it won’t be a nice old man wagging his finger and issuing a ticket, it’ll be this lot – “Parking Eye Car Park Management” – stick in the word “management” and it almost makes fleecing you sound like a legitimate thing to do…

Parking Eye - watch out for them...

Parking Eye - watch out for them...

Only consolation of episode was result of the Derby – always good to witness a Blue victory :-), but possibly as cheap to have gone to Goodison Park and seen it in the flesh, so to speak!

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13 Comments leave one →
  1. November 3, 2010 10:35 pm

    The cameras at Aldi are a recent addition (in the last year). It never used to have anyone going round, apart from on Saturday mornings (when – I think it was Aldi – employed someone to keep check.

    • November 3, 2010 11:04 pm

      Hi Ben – Absolutely no objections to paying up if I’ve infringed something that I’ve been warned about. If reasonable. But a £70 fine is just appalling. If we all operated like this, can you just imagine the outcry? I think it’s about applying fairness and common sense – neither of which seem to be much in abundance these days… All part of the process of selling off land I suppose, and making inordinate profits by fleecing people!

  2. Tracy permalink
    November 4, 2010 8:23 am

    Gosh that awful , thanks for the warning ! £ 70 is an absolute disgrace !

  3. Laura permalink
    November 4, 2010 5:33 pm

    Parking next to the slug and lettuce exactly the same – took boyf to casa tapas for meal – arrived 12 minutes to 8 when its free parking after 8pm.

    We went to get cash and it was really busy and came back and had a ticket!! £70! More than puts you off going down there which is such a shame. We were literally just over 10 minutes when it was free after 8 anyway!

  4. November 5, 2010 10:19 am

    I once got charged £100 for parking in my own allocated parking space in a city centre apartment block. This meant I was had actually paid for the space and I still got fined. I had extended my tenancy didn’t think (and wasn’t warned) to get a new parking permit. Within a week I was done. These companies are dodgy.

    West Didsbury should take advantage. Claim a strip of the hospital car park closest to the Nell Lane / Burton Road junction. Give it a separate entrance an offer free parking with max stay of 3 or 4 hours to keep hospital staff out. Jobs a good ‘un.

    If the Co-op ever starts enforcing the ‘customer parking only’ rule West Didsbury’s local businesses will be in trouble. Even though there’s only a dozen or so spaces you expect one to be free so you’re not put off by the thought of having to look for on-street parking.

  5. Colin permalink
    November 7, 2010 8:01 am

    These charges are not enforceable by law. It is a private charge not a fine by law – actually it is simply an invoice. It is the same with all private car parks.

    The 2 hours free is great and not to be abused, but £70 is OTT.

    see http://morrisonsreigatecarpark.wordpress.com/received-a-ticket-what-to-do-next/ about a car park run by the same company.

    Taken from the above link…
    In summary, always ignore Private Parking Companies charges (which are merely arbitrary requests for payment of an arbitrary amount), not a ‘fine’. Not even the Police can ‘fine’ you for a criminal offence. A speeding ‘fine’ is an offer of settlement without taking the matter to court. Certainly private individuals cannot ‘fine’ you – only a court can.

    • November 7, 2010 8:58 am

      Thanks for the above Colin – have had a few emails along similar lines and will certainly post an update. As you say, not to be abused, but ripping people off to this extent is immoral.

      Helen

      • Colin permalink
        November 7, 2010 10:26 am

        Perhaps I should add that I am in no way a legal expert and you should seek independent legal advice before acting on anything I say!

        That could also apply to sandwich recommendations I may offer in the future.

  6. Chris permalink
    November 7, 2010 11:09 am

    Recently myself and a colleague were caught out by the sneaky parking fine in car park adjacent to Aldi.
    Weirdly though, we were therethe same amount of time (3 hours-ish) but only one of us received the fine?!?

  7. November 7, 2010 5:36 pm

    Thanks for all comments on this blog – seems to resonate with a few people! Found this link on Money saving Expert – might be helpful…

    http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/reclaim/private-parking-tickets

    Just wish we’d investigated this a bit more before forking out to a bunch of cowboys 😦

  8. November 13, 2010 7:57 pm

    Helen, Colin is right. It’s not enforceable, so don’t pay it. Me and mark have had loads of these things, they keep writing to you but they eventually stop as they can’t take you to court.

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