The orange juice which could end up costing a Hartlepool motorist and her friend £100 each
A Hartlepool motorist is appealing for clearer car park signage following a “shocking” fine after meeting a pal for an orange juice.
Michelle Plant, from Clavering, was reunited with a Newton Aycliffe friend she hadn’t seen for 20 years for a drink at a Hartlepool Marina cafe.
But two days after meeting up, the pair, who travelled separately by car, were each served with an unexpected parking fine of up to £100.
They believed they could park at Navigation Point for two-and-a-half hours by having the first 30 minutes free of charge and purchasing a two-hour ticket to cover the rest of their stay.
They left around five minutes before the two-and-a-half hour period had expired.
Recalling last month’s visit, Michelle, 60, explained: “The board said first 30 minutes free.
"We each bought a £1.50 two-hour ticket, so that would have given us the half hour that we were there, then the two hours, which would equal two-and-a-half hours.”
She added: "I was absolutely shocked, because I thought we’d gone within the rules.”
Northwest Parking Management, which looks after the car park, has said a payment of £1.50 allows two hours’ stay – including the initial half hour – and not two-and-a-half hours.
The company has also said that this is “clearly” stated by the tariff on site.
But former Hartlepool borough councillor Michelle has said the car park signage is “confusing” and needs to be clearer.
She said: "It says 30 minutes for free and then it says £1.50 for two hours. It doesn’t say inclusive of the 30 minutes.”
She continued: “The sign is very confusing. It is not clearly indicated.
"They need to put it correctly so the average Joe Bloggs like me can go and read it and know exactly, yes, I can leave that car, safe in the knowledge that I’ve paid my car park fee."
An initial £60 fine can rise to £100 although Michelle is now waiting the outcome of an appeal.
Northwest Parking Management added: “The tariffs applicable and the terms and conditions of parking are clearly displayed on the signage around the site.
“The tariff on site clearly states: Under 30 minutes – free; From 30 minutes to 2 hours – £1.50.
"Thus a payment of £1.50 allows two hours on site and not 2.5 hours.”