Fines prompt more driver fury

DRIVERS are today demanding an explanation from those who manage an Ipswich car park, which is imposing steep fines for unclear reasons.Janet Smith told the Evening Star today of her fury when she had to pay for her 23-year-old son's fine from parking in a set space in Cardinal Park.

DRIVERS are today demanding an explanation from those who manage an Ipswich car park, which is imposing steep fines for unclear reasons.

Janet Smith told the Evening Star today of her fury when she had to pay for her 23-year-old son's fine from parking in a set space in Cardinal Park.

Excel Parking Services manage the car park and although it is free after 6pm and Steven Smith was parked in a marked-out bay he was issued a £100 fine for parking incorrectly.

He had parked only for a few minutes while a friend went to get a takeaway from KFC on April 6, at 12.55am.

Mrs Smith, of Coral Drive, Ipswich, said: "Steven knew nothing about the fine until he got a letter on April 10th and stated Steven had seven days from the date of the incident to pay it. Another £80 would be added if he did not pay. A phone number was put on the bill to appeal but it was charged at a premium rate.

"If it had been a council car park there would be a discount for paying it early but Excel seems to be very strict, even making a fortune from people when they give in and phone up to pay.

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"Steven said he had an argument with a parking attendant because there was oil on the road of the car park and he skidded on it. He told the attendant to clear it up.

"I think the ticket was issued because of that argument and not because Steven parked incorrectly in a designated parking space.

"In the end I paid the fine for him over the phone at a rate of 50p a minute. I was furious but I wanted to stop the amount increasing."

In November 2003 Rob Dunger, of Waterloo Road, Ipswich, told the Evening Star about a battle he had with the company over a £90 ticket he was given when he parked in a space an attendant had told him to park in.

It has been nearly two years since he was given the ticket and says he is still refusing to pay it.

He said: "It was my sisters car I was driving at the time which has since been written off. It seems insane that the bills threatening visits from bailiffs have lasted longer than the car did.

"There is no way I am going to pay for a fine for parking where I was instructed to and I would advise others not to pay too.

"I would just like the company to admit they were wrong or to write the fine off."

Also in November 2003 Alison Newton, from Bury St Edmunds had to pay £115 for parking incorrectly in a bay at KFC for five minutes while she visited the restaurant.

Although there is a link to pay fines on Excel Parking Services website, the facility is currently under construction.

Glenn Carter, operations manager from Excel Parking Services, said: "People are not left without any option then to pay on premium lines as we send out our address and welcome people to put appeals or payments in writing. The website is a new addition to the company and as yet the link to pay bills from is not working and we do not have a date for when it will be up and running.

"I cannot speak about individual cases but if people are unsure why they have been issued a fine they should contact us via letter and we will speak to the attendant and explain it to them."

Do you have news for the town centre area of Ipswich? Contact Lisa Woollard at, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or e-mail lisa.woollard@eveningstar.co.uk or contact 01473 324788.

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