Man slapped with £320 fine for 37 minutes of parking

EMBARGOED TO 0001 MONDAY OCTOBER 2 File photo dated 19/07/17 of penalty charge notices affixed to several cars, as up to 17\% of parking spaces on UK streets could be freed up if drivers stopped parking badly, it has been estimated.

A music promoter has been left fuming after just 37 minutes in a hotel car park left him with fines totalling £320. Hywel Gregory, 25, parked outside the Mercure hotel in Bristol twice in one day, unaware that a fee was payable for his two stays – which were just 18 and 19 minutes in length.

The car park is not operated by the hotel, but a third party company, Smart Parking. It sent Gregory the unexpected fines, and despite appeals has only raised the fines.

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Gregory used the hotel's parking in November 2017. He picked up a music artist from Bristol airport, drove to the hotel, and parked there for 18 minutes while he helped them check in.

He then repeated the process with another musician later in the day, parking for 19 minutes.

He told the Bristol Post "I didn't even know I had to pay for parking. The signs in the car park said 'Hotel Residents - £15 overnight parking payable on check-in'.

"If I had been staying overnight, I would have discussed paying for parking at reception like the sign said, but I was just dropping somebody off.

"I spent £400 for these hotel rooms and now I'm being charged £320 for 37 minutes of parking."

Gregory contacted the hotel's manager, who despite being sympathetic has not elicited any goodwill from Smart Parking.

A spokesperson from Smart Parking said: "At the Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel we use a state-of-the-art automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) parking management system that monitors cars entering and exiting the car park. Across the site there are 35 signs which clearly explain the terms and conditions of use and the fact that the car park is ANPR monitored.

"For guests of the hotel, they must register at reception and there is a £15 overnight fee. For everyone else tariffs start at £2.50 per hour. In the case of Mr Gregory he parked twice without paying any tariff, so was correctly issued two charges.

"We would remind any motorist that when parking on private land they should always read the terms and conditions before deciding to park."

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