A TEACHER is outraged after being hit with an "unfair" £100 parking fine after getting stuck in a "gridlocked" car park.

Natalie Minaker drove to Crossley Retail Park in Kidderminster just before Christmas to buy a bulky car seat for a child, when she would have ordinarily walked to the shops.

On December 22, she parked at the car park, which offers three hours of free parking, at 11.12am in the morning. Ms Minaker and her two daughters, Edith, 4 and Verity, 8, visited the shops and then returned to the car at 11.50am.

She said at this time, the queue to get out was "nose-to-tail" and after 20 minutes of sitting in a stationary queue and being unable to leave the car park, she made the decision to leave the car, walk fifteen minutes to her home in Broadwaters to get her children some lunch, and try again later. 

Kidderminster Shuttle: Natalie waiting in traffic with her daughters Edith and VerityNatalie waiting in traffic with her daughters Edith and Verity (Image: Natalie Minaker)

She claims she returned to her car at 1.30pm, with 40 minutes to spare until her free parking time expired.

However, she said she was stuck in the car park for an hour due to the "obscene level of traffic." She says was sitting in a queue and unable to leave the car park, resulting in "overstaying" by 12 minutes, which was picked up by the car park cameras. 

On January 4, she received her first letter from parking company G24 notifying her of the charge. She appealed against the fine on the company's website, explaining the circumstances.

Kidderminster Shuttle: She said the traffic on the day was nose-to-tailShe said the traffic on the day was nose-to-tail (Image: Natalie Minaker)

She says days later G24 rejected her appeal and provided a "generic response." They said if she wanted to re-appeal, she had to use an independent appeals service.

She put in the appeal with the service and provided more evidence to support her claim.

She says she received another response rejecting her appeal, with the company pointing out that she "admitted" she didn't call a helpline on the car park signs on the day. 

However, she said she was unaware of the number and said it was "not visible from inside of a car stuck in traffic".

She has now received a final notice for payment letter. She believes others who parked in the car park that day may have also been hit with similar fines.

Kidderminster Shuttle: She said traffic was gridlocked on the dayShe said traffic was gridlocked on the day (Image: Natalie Minaker)

Ms Minaker, aged 39, who works at a school in Wolverhampton, said: "I'm not going to lie, this whole situation is just causing me stress that I could do without.

“However, I can't bring myself to climb down off this particular hill I have chosen to die on.

"It is outrageous that these big companies can act in this way, and someone needs to take a stand.

"The fine is only for £100, and believe me, if I had genuinely overstayed because of my own actions, I would not hesitate to pay it.

"This is not about the money. It never has been. This is about fairness".

G24 has yet to respond to the Shuttle's request for comment.