Couple feel 'upset' and 'misled' after Belvoir Castle parking fine

By Joel Moore

A couple have said they feel 'upset' and 'misled' after being hit with a £100 parking fine at Belvoir Castle.

Jane Handsley and her husband Roy Beadle, of Grantham, were notified of the fine four days after visiting the attraction on the Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire border on July 26.

However the couple are adamant that it was a genuine mistake, putting it down to a perplexing paying method.

Ms Handsley claimed the signage was “too confusing”.

“The way it’s set up is very misleading,” she said.

“It’s like it’s set up to catch people out.

She added that a message only flashed up for “a few seconds” asking if she wanted to extend the time.

"It's not like I'm not tech savvy at all, I've needed to be for my former job as an accountant. It's just really confusing. Parking should be a simple process."

Ms Handsley added that she had been left 'upset' by the fine, which came after her first outing following a period of isolation.

The couple appealed to POPLAR, an independent ombudsman, and were initially successful. However they were later told that this decision was due to an admin error and therefore the fine would be reinstated.

They are not the first motorists to speak out about issues with the beauty spot’s parking process . Dozens of visitors can be seen complaining about similar experiences at the castle on TripAdvisor.

Belvoir Castle have installed around 30 signs to help with the confusion since, however Ms Handsley feels it is still not enough.

"The 30 signs include a number of different signs so are visitors expected to read each one to make sure they have understood and not missed anything?" she added.

"Why can’t they install a system that is intuitive to use rather than one that requires reading all signs, even those at below knee level, in order to use the parking machines?"

Initial Parking, who operate the system, said that the signage was highly-visible and British Parking Association-compliant.

“The car park at Belvoir Castle features signage throughout which provides users with clear information on the terms and conditions of using the parking facilities," said a spokesperson.

"Additional signage was also added recently at the request of the Estate to enhance the existing signage and provide even greater levels of guidance for all visitors when using the car park.

"All visitors parking in the main car park receive their first of hour of parking time free and can purchase additional parking time at any point during their visit. This can be done by card, phone, apple pay and Payment machines.

Referring to the Grantham couple's case, they added: “The motorist was on site for 4 hours, 18 minutes and 58 seconds however she only paid for an additional one hour of parking time which resulted in her correctly receiving a parking charge notice on 30th July 2021.

“Initial Parking is a member of the BPA and we strictly follow its guidelines. The motorist’s appeal against the charge was declined on 4th August 2021 and she has chosen not to engage with us, or pay the amount due since then.

“The motorist made a further appeal through POPLA, the independent Ombudsman which reviews all cases free of charge for motorists who disagree with our findings, however this appeal still remains with them.

“We would encourage any motorist who disagrees with our appeal assessments to utilise this free service.”


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