A TRIP to collect his granddaughters from a family outing to the Butterfly Maze at the Wye Valley Visitor Centre left David George fuming after he was lumbered with a £100 parking fine.
"The girls had been visiting the centre with their paternal grandmother, who was returning to Newport so I drove up there to pick them up," he explained. "They’d been there for a few hours as paying customers.
"I was there just 10 minutes - loading up the car and waiting for one of them to pop to the toilet.
"I couldn’t believe it when I received the letter about the parking fine. When I subsequently took up the matter with the centre I was told all parking issues were dealt with by ParkingEye.
"I held out on payment until an appeal had been held in the belief that I would win the appeal on the condition of being in and out of the park in the permitted 10-minute grace period - and also because they were paying customers of the facility and it was an obvious case of me acting as a taxi pick-up.
"It was also near closing time with only two cars there, one of which I saw visited by a member of staff.
"I finally had an email whilst on a six week trip to New Zealand informing me my appeal had been rejected and failure to pay could result in a county court judgment which I was reluctant to risk whilst I needed to pay for flights etc to return home. So, much against my better judgment, I ended up paying the full amount.
"I’m still really angry about it. It doesn’t seem a very good attitude to take to someone visiting a tourist attraction."
A ParkingEye spokesperson said: "ParkingEye is a member of the British Parking Association (BPA) and operates an audited appeals process Motorists are encouraged to appeal if they feel there are mitigating circumstances.
"Visitors to the car park in question must pay the appropriate tariff regardless of length of stay or purchases on site.
"This particular case was also referred to POPLA, an impartial adjudicator of pcns, who awarded the case in ParkingEye’s favour due to the motorist failing to pay for parking on the day in question."