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Complaints over 'unfair' parking charges at The Boulevard in Borehamwood
Drivers are calling for a parking enforcement company they consider issues “outrageous“ fines to leave a shopping park.
John Hartog, 69, was fined £85 by ParkingEye after staying 16 minutes over the three hour free parking limit at the Boulevard car park in Theobald Street in Borehamwood.
The pensioner has vowed to fight the charge he sees as “surreptitious and underhand”, even if it involves being taken to court.
However ParkingEye, which runs the car park, has rejected Mr Hartog’s appeal on the grounds he overstayed his limit, so it was within its rights to charge him.
Mr Hartog, who lives in Edgware, claimed he arrived in the car park after dusk and so did not see the signs detailing the car park restrictions.
He added: “It would have created a dangerous hazard to other drivers and myself had I braked to squint at the signs in the dark.
“I thought I was using the town centre car park, but they told me I shouldn’t have parked there in the first place because I was using the cinema.
“A fine of £85 seems outrageous and unreasonable for a 16-minute overstay.”
Mr Hartog also accuses the car park of using “Big Brother-style” surveillance tactics.
He said: “The company had records of every time my car had been in the car park, even though I don’t recall using it before.
“It is retaining a secret service-style portfolio of the shopping habits of tens of thousands of residents which could be put to dubious use if in the wrong hands.”
He claims the stress of the case has adversely affected his health, causing him problems with anxiety.
But he vowed to contest the fine, adding: "I won't rest."
Emma Fleckney, 22, who parks in the Boulevard car park every day while she goes to work there, said she often receives parking charges even though her car is registered.
She added: “The first one I received was scary.
“I think the three-hour limit is unreasonable. There’s not many places to park in Borehamwood and the ridiculous fines discourage people from staying longer and having lunch or dinner in the town."
However a spokesman for ParkingEye said Ms Fleckney had ceased to get the fines after she registered.
He added there were 28 clearly visible signs across the car park detailing the restrictions and the majority of shoppers obeyed the rules.
The spokesman added: “ParkingEye was brought in to manage the car park as there was a serious problem of people parking and leaving their cars there all day.
“This parking abuse was preventing genuine shoppers finding spaces.
“Mr Harthog has appealed his charge, but we have rejected it as we believe he clearly broke the terms and conditions of use at the car park.
"However, we have referred him to the Government’s independent appeals service, and will happily abide by their decision.”
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