Big bill for afternoon tea

TEA and scones cost a Felixstowe woman nearly £30 at a Suffolk beauty spot – after she got caught out by a new pay and display car park.Now Doreen Rayner is warning others to be on their guard after her car was clamped when she used the car park outside the Felixstowe Ferry café and failed to buy a ticket.

TEA and scones cost a Felixstowe woman nearly £30 at a Suffolk beauty spot – after she got caught out by a new pay and display car park.

Now Doreen Rayner is warning others to be on their guard after her car was clamped when she used the car park outside the Felixstowe Ferry café and failed to buy a ticket.

Instead of paying 30p for an hour, she was landed with a bill for £25 for her vehicle to be released.

But Mrs Rayner, of Manor Terrace, Felixstowe, claims the signs at the car park are inadequate and there are not enough warnings that clamping is in operation.

Owner John Davis, who has this year given the car park a £200,000 makeover and completely transformed it from a scrappy piece of land into a level parking area with wood-fenced bays, signs and ticket machine, disputes her claims.

He cannot believe people would not have noticed how it had changed.

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Mrs Rayner said: "For many years my friends and I have frequented the Felixstowe Ferry cafe, parking our vehicles on land adjoining the premises.

"Although we noticed new fencing had been erected on land we normally parked on we remained completely unaware of new parking restrictions and certainly we did not spot the usual warning notices in yellow and brown or blue and white lettering indicating a wheel clamping policy.

"This is not surprising because the only visible warning signs – and these had to be pointed out by the car park attendant as we left the area – are coloured an insignificant brown that blend into the telegraph pole to which they are fixed.

"The ticket machine is also too small, less intrusive and less noticeable than those in public car parks.

"We were not looking for warning signs because in the past visitors have always been encouraged to park freely on this land.   

"Our enjoyment was short lived because on that afternoon tea and scones cost almost £30 after we had paid for the clamp to be released."

Mr Davis had not wanted to use clamping but said so many people had ignored the pay and display signs in the first weeks that he had to take action.

The ticket machine is the standard one used in many council car parks nationwide, there is a huge sign by the machine and at least five smaller ones saying "pay and display" and "have you paid", plus notices warning of clamping.

There had been a signing saying "pay here" above where Mrs Rayner had parked. There was also a clamped abandoned car in the car park to illustrate clamping was in use.

"How many more signs do we need? We used brown tourist ones so that would be in keeping with the surrounding area and not spoil it," he said.

n What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail EveningStarLetters@eveningstar.co.uk

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