RELAXED parking regulations are being introduced at Junction One Retail Park in response to criticism of new controls which were introduced in February and suspended in May.
Shoppers will now be able to park for six hours at a time, while more prominent signs – 55 in total – will include a helpline number allowing people to appeal against charges they feel are unfair.
Free day tickets will also be available from several of the retail park’s shops, including Frankie and Benny’s and Cineworld.
A spokesman for Orchard Street, representing the owners of Junction One, told the Observer that parking controls were introduced to return the car park to the customers, and discourage non-shoppers leaving their cars there all day, lorries parking overnight, and night-time car rallies – which he described as “exactly the sort of thing you don’t want happening in a car park that’s aimed at shoppers and families”.
He said: “It came to a head when our property managers were there one morning before any of the shops had opened, and the car park was already substantially full.
“We were horrified to find that the regulations introduced in February weren’t working as they should, because we’re trying to make it better for people who want to use it.”
The regulations drew strong criticism from shoppers who said signs were unclear, and felt four hours was too short for a visit that could include a meal and a film.
“The last thing we want to do is put people off.” the spokesman added.
“People who feel that they’ve been unfairly ticketed should get in touch with our property managers.
“They have the discretion to rescind if a ticket is unfairly or wrongly issued, and will try and exercise sensible judgement in responding to that.”
A British Parking Association investigation into the working practices of Civil Enforcement Ltd, which runs parking control at Junction One, had not concluded when we went to press.
New signs have been erected at Junction One, although the new regulations don’t come into effect until Friday August 15.
Orchard Street will review its parking policy again in 12 months.