Hatfield parking signs to be made clearer

SIGNS warning shoppers they still need a pay-and-display ticket for free parking at one Hatfield precinct are set to be made clearer.

The crucial concession has been made by UK Parking Control, (UKPC), which enforces restrictions in Parkhouse Court.

Since the summer, the WHT has run numerous stories about problems encountered by people leaving their cars when they popped to the shops.

Signs state a ticket had to be displayed, even though the first hour’s parking was free.

But many felt they were vague and were caught out – ending up with �90 fines.

Their plight was taken up by Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps, who threatened to bring the issue up in Parliament.

After continual snubs, he eventually secured a showdown with UKPC, having invited bosses to come and meet him at Parkhouse Court and see the situation for themselves.

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Mr Shapps told the WHT he had “struck an agreement” with UKPC contract manager Stuart Harrison that signs would be changed.

“Shoppers have been caught out because they notice that they can park for one hour for free at Parkhouse Court but then come back to find that their vehicle has been ticketed,” he said.

“The reason is that, on closer inspection, you must display a ticket for the first hour, but I’ve never believed the signs are clear enough and I’m delighted to say UKPC have now agreed to go beyond what is legally required and beef up their signs in order to make things clearer.”

Mr Shapps added: “When we finally got to meet, I found UKPC to be keen to accommodate these concerns and I’m grateful they took the time to meet me.

“Better signage will help prevent people from getting tickets in the future.”

Mr Harrison told the Welwyn Hatfield Times the sign change was going “above and beyond” what was needed under British Parking Association rules.

He said: “We have signage across the site which is more than compliant with the BPA regulations.

“Given the concern Grant Shapps had, we felt we would go above and beyond what would be expected from a car park management company and decided to add additional signage to the site to draw particular attention to the terms and conditions.”

Mr Harrison added UKPC was only enforcing regulations laid down by the council when Parkhouse Court was first developed, rather than “trying to trick the general public”.