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​Couple Fined For Parking In 'Free' Car Park

Jess Hardiman

| Last updated 

​Couple Fined For Parking In 'Free' Car Park

Sometimes it's an absolute nightmare trying to find a parking space in the same postcode as where you want to be, let alone the same road. You think you spot a gap and tentatively inch towards it, only to find it's a SODDING DRIVE. Or only available to permit holders, wherever the hell they are. Or just that tiny bit too small for your pitiful parallel parking skills. Basically, you might as well have got the bus.


But what has to be much, much worse is when you park somewhere labelled as 'free', only to be slapped with a nasty fine. FFS.

That's what happened to one couple, who have said they were given an 'utterly ridiculous' £60 fine after parking in a spot that claimed to be a free one.


Kate Readman and her husband had parked outside Starbucks for half an hour while they nipped into the McDonald's next door in Southgate retail park, which is near Stansted Airport outside London.

Some signs in the car park warn drivers that certain bays and areas are reserved for customers of a specific restaurant like McDonald's or Starbucucks.

However, while some other signs state that there's one hour of free parking 'on site', they apparently do not specify exactly where.

Credit: Google Maps
Credit: Google Maps

Weeks after parking in the car park, Kate got a bit of a shock when a £60 fine came through the letterbox from MET Parking Services, the film that manages the car park.

Kate told the Guardian: "We left the car and walked the 30 metres or so to the McDonald's which is next door to the Starbucks, ate and drove off after around 30 minutes - well inside the allotted free hour.

"I genuinely could not believe it when I got the letter. But when I went online I found plenty of posts from others who had received similar letters.

"If this model were carried forward to other retail parks you would have to park directly in front of the shop you wished to visit and then move your car each time you wanted to go to another shop. It's utterly ridiculous."


According to the Guardian, because MET sent the demand a month after their visit, it is probably unenforceable, as users are allowed to ignore demands sent more than 14 days after the visit.

A partner at JMW Solicitors, which represents MET, told the Guardian on behalf of MET: "There is nothing unusual about different businesses having their own car park or reserving free parking for their own customers."

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: News, UK, Cars

Jess Hardiman
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