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Free parking signs are 'so confusing'
6:00am Tuesday 15th October 2013 in Local
A COOK from the Czech Republic has slammed parking in Kidderminster as a “confused system”
after being fined in a short-stay bay when the rest of the car park was free.
Chef Erik Michalek was slapped with a £50 fine while parked in the Bromsgrove Street car park on Wednesday, September 25 – the day of the week when it is supposed to be free to shoppers between 10am until 4pm.
Mr Michalek, who works at the Lion Hotel and has limited English, said there were signs saying the car park was free “today” but nothing mentioning that the short-stay bays were not included.
He said he had parked in the car park at about 11am, adding if his car, which has a Czech Republic number plate, had been just 10ft away he would have been OK.
“For me, free is free,” said Mr Michalek, who also helps out with the catering at Kidderminster Harriers, making cottage pies.
“There was no difference between short-stay and long-stay. There’s nothing to say what is included or excluded. It’s a confused system. Everybody will be confused.”
He added the signs needed to be clearer to prevent people being fined. A “free parking here” sign in Lion Street, which refers to the Bromsgrove Street car park, could also confuse residents.
“It’s the principle,” said Mr Michalek. “How can you offer someone parking for free without saying ‘except short-stay’ and you come to your car and find a penalty.
“I feel a mixture of anger and frustration. I want the council to make it clear for everybody.”
Mr Michalek’s boss David Murdoch added: “The signs need to be more clear for everyone.”
Wyre Forest District Council announced in July it was offering free parking at selected car parks in the district in a bid to attract more shoppers to the town and support traders.
Marcus Hart, the authority’s cabinet member for environmental services, said they would be “happy” to re-examine the signage in light of Mr Michalek’s comments.
“The free parking initiative suspends all fees that normally apply,” he explained. “It does not remove any of the existing conventions.
“This means that any protected bays, while being free for the hour, will still have a one hourtime limit. These spaces are clearly marked as one-hour restrictions and are reserved for people wishing to make short visits.
“We are sorry to hear of Mr Michalek’s experience and have advised that he does have the right to appeal this fine.”
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