SE23.com - The Official Forum for Forest Hill & Honor Oak, London SE23
Online since 2002  -  10,000+ members

Home | SE23 Topics | Shops & Services | Wider Topics | Offered/Wanted/Lost/Found | Advertising | Contact
Geddes Hairdressing & Barbering Studio One Armstrong & Co Solicitors Adult Learning Lewisham


Post Reply  Post Topic 
Pages (2): « First [1] 2 Next > Last »
Parking ticket woes at Pearcefield Av (Sainsbury's) car park....
Author Message
gbrownings


Posts: 94
Joined: Aug 2012
Post: #1
04-03-2013 05:26 PM

Anyone here been stung by the Free parking scam being operated by Lewisham Council in Pearcefield Avenue (Sainsbury's) car park?

It is quite clever and nets the authority thousands of pounds a year from people who see the signs stating that parking is free for the first two hours but don't realise they still have to display a ticket.

Each year hundreds of Fixed Penalty Notices are pinned to windscreens as visitors fail to read the small print and are collared by the officious men on their little scooters doubtless enjoying nice little bonuses for bagging so many offenders.

And Lewisham don't even bother to run this cash cow themselves - it is outsourced to NSL Services.

I use the car park regularly and have lost count of the number of times I have seen these criminals (you know the sort; mums with children, elderly folk etc) return to their cars laden with shopping and are visibly shocked and in some cases physically upset to find they have a ticket. These are not small fines either.

So what is going on?

Parking is free for two hours so, anyone using the car park for less than this would obviously get a ticket if they realised they needed one - they obviously do not. Why would you not display a ticket if it was free?

So one can only conclude that the signage is inadequate. Cynics might go further and suggest that Lewisham is happy to have ambiguous signage in the car park so they can continue to enjoy an annual income (from parking tickets alone) of more than £60,000. Why would they change them?

The terms of use for the car park are on the left as you drive in - and easily missed. Once inside, there are signs asking if you have paid and displayed - fair enough. But if you then see that it is free for two hours people are presuming they don't need to display a ticket because they are not required to pay.

Some may say: "tough - read the signs." I think the council is, at best, being disingenuous. It saddens me to see people being penalised so harshly for such an innocent error/oversight with levels of fines so massively out of proportion to the offence (of not realising you needed a ticket to park for free).

It seems to me that Lewisham should look at the signage again and accept that something is not right.

Out of interest here are some statistics (thanks to the Freedom of Information Act) which I believe support my view that the people being penalised are those who do not realise they needed to display a ticket for their free period as opposed to people overstaying their time (and deserve less of our sympathy)

The total number of tickets issued for unlawful parking in the car park in Pearcefield Road, Forest Hill for the previous 5 years

2008/2009 - 1544
2009/2010 - 943
2010 2011 - 1060
2011/2012 - 1584

Figures for the number of tickets issued to motorists for failing to display a ticket.

2008/2009 - 1041
2009 /2010 - 686
2010/2011 - 884
2011 /2012 - 1219

The above were provided to me by Lewisham Council (so they could deduce themselves there was a problem if they so wished) and show what is surely a massively disproportionately high percentage of penalty notices being issued for not displaying a ticket (not overstaying) in a car park where it is free for two hours.

I plan to write to the head of Lewisham parking enforcement shortly, but would appreciate any thoughts, views, support, evidence, solutions from forum readers.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #2
04-03-2013 09:51 PM

To be fair, it is pretty well sign posted and has been operating like this for a good few years now. People need to just need to pay a little more attention.

Find all posts by this user Reply
rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #3
04-03-2013 10:09 PM

All the Lewisham car parks, and many other (such as M&S in Beckenham) that offer a limited free period of parking operate this system. It makes sense when you think about it. How is the parking warden supposed to know when you arrived and if you are still within your free period if you don't get a time-stamped ticket?

Some of the misunderstanding in this particular car park might arise if people think the car park belongs to Sainsburys, which would normally be free.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Loncdl


Posts: 55
Joined: May 2008
Post: #4
04-03-2013 11:14 PM

Speaking as someone who has been stupid enough to get a ticket in that car park because I thought it was Sunday (when you don't need a ticket) when actually it was Saturday (when you do), to be fair, it's not really that complicated a system is it...?

Find all posts by this user Reply
ambient


Posts: 85
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #5
05-03-2013 10:52 AM

Can't see what the fuss is about myself. It's simple enough. Adopt a simple rule of checking and double-checking the signs and restrictions *wherever* you park in London. If you get it wrong once, you'll not do it again.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sibelius


Posts: 63
Joined: Aug 2011
Post: #6
05-03-2013 04:07 PM

I got this wrong once also and won't do it again, but I was nabbed after being in the shop for 7-8 mins, making me furious that the fella probably waits just out of sight for unfortunates like me. I saw him once - he has a very large helmet, and I'm not surprised....!

Find all posts by this user Reply
ambient


Posts: 85
Joined: Nov 2007
Post: #7
05-03-2013 04:28 PM

Sympathies Sibelius, I do agree that people lurking around the car park looking to nab you is a bit much!

Find all posts by this user Reply
goater


Posts: 14
Joined: Jul 2011
Post: #8
06-03-2013 12:52 PM

I tend to agree that I don't think the system is that complicated or that the signs are unclear, though I would support any campaign to make them clearer. Also, given that it will mainly be locals who use it, those who have been "stung once" are unlikely to make the same mistake again.

I would say that it is always a pain when the machine (not under cover) is not working as there is only one other machine (under cover), don't see why they can't institute a 'register by phone' system like most other parking in London.

Find all posts by this user Reply
hillsideresident


Posts: 148
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #9
06-03-2013 01:12 PM

Depressing lack of sympathy for people making an honest mistake. It can't be that clear if so many people don't realise. And the fine is disproportionately high.

I would also question the "machine not working" syndrome. Why should people realise there's another machine? It's pretty natural to think that if the machine isn't working, you don't need a ticket.

Find all posts by this user Reply
rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #10
06-03-2013 01:27 PM

I have sympathy, I just don't agree with the OP that it is an inherently flawed and unfair system.

I made the mistake once of not getting a ticket in the Perry Vale car park when I was picking up a parcel from the sorting office. When I came out, the parking warden was there and about to write me a ticket. I showed him my parcel and said I didn't realise about the ticket. When he explained why I still needed a ticket, it made perfect sense and I felt rather foolish. I'm happy to say he let me off that time, so they are not all mean. I've never done it again.

I once got a parking ticket because I put the ticket from the payment machine upside down on the dash and the warden couldn't read it.

I've never done that again, either.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Sherwood


Posts: 1,347
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #11
06-03-2013 01:28 PM

The problem probably is that without the ticket machine and inspectors commuters would park there all day.

I have seen traffic wardens lurking around the corner when parking in the West End and they come back in 2 hours when the meter has expired.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Jane2


Posts: 221
Joined: Jan 2007
Post: #12
07-03-2013 05:37 PM

I agree that the signage is not particularly clear in that car park. The fact that the car park is attached to the Sainsburys can be misleading. Also, the last time I was there the machine was playing up, as half of the buttons weren't working. So if you were unfortunate enough to have the numbers in your numberplate that were the broken buttons then it was very difficult to obtain a ticket. I spent a good 5 minutes at the machine, in the end I only managed to get it to issue a ticket by jabbing the buttons very hard with a key. I didn't realise there was another machine.

I don't agree that without a ticket they wouldn't know how long you had been there. They certainly manage to monitor the cars parked in the free 30 minutes spots everywhere else in Forest Hill (having been on the receiving end of a parking ticket when I got back to my car 2 minutes late).

The Perry Vale car park is the same, you also need a ticket for the free parking, which is not obvious either but I am always careful to do after a parking officer warned me about it. But why don't they have a ticket machine at the other end of the car park, near to the Royal Mail office? I have to park the car near to the ticket machine, get the ticket, and then get back in the car and drive to the other end of the car park (before anyone asks why I don't just walk across the car park, it is because I usually have children with me and there are no paths for pedestrians so I don't feel particularly safe as some cars drive quite fast round that car park).

It wouldn't hurt to have a few large signs in these car parks saying YOU NEED A TICKET FOR FREE PARKING

With all these fantastic new shops in Forest Hill, we are attracting more non-locals to the centre, who aren't familiar with the car parks - what a welcome to Forest Hill, getting a parking ticket!

Find all posts by this user Reply
rshdunlop


Posts: 1,111
Joined: Jun 2008
Post: #13
07-03-2013 06:05 PM

Agreed about Perry Vale - we need a ticket machine at the other end of the car park too. And two hours free parking, not 30 minutes. This morning I made it to the Post Office, W H Smiths and Boots before I had to scurry back to the car. If I'd had two hours I would have probably popped into Bunka and B cards as well, and maybe the party dress shop (big night out coming up!).

Find all posts by this user Reply
gbrownings


Posts: 94
Joined: Aug 2012
Post: #14
07-03-2013 11:28 PM

Thanks to everyone who responded. I still intend to write to Lewisham and while I will not exactly be able to claim Forest Hill residents are up in arms over this issue, there are some who share my view that the signage could be clearer.

In excess of 1,200 people received a penalty notice last year for failing to display a ticket in a car park where it is free for two hours - something is not quite right (accepting that the onus is on the user to ensure they abide by the parking regs whatever they may be).

I propose to invite the parking department to review the signage at both Pearcefield Avenue and Perry Vale.

The cynic in me suspects it is not in the council's interest to change anything because these penalty notices generate a lot of easy revenue but let's see what they say.

And as Jane2 says, we should be encouraging people to come to Forest Hill to enjoy the shops and facilities and not welcome them with a parking ticket (which is what happened to me the very first day I moved into my new home in FH!)

Find all posts by this user Reply
hillsideresident


Posts: 148
Joined: Jul 2010
Post: #15
08-03-2013 11:53 AM

Quote:
It wouldn't hurt to have a few large signs in these car parks saying YOU NEED A TICKET FOR FREE PARKING


That's it. That's all you need. And another one saying "Welcome to Forest Hill".

Good luck with this, gbrownings.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Londondrz


Posts: 1,538
Joined: Apr 2006
Post: #16
08-03-2013 11:54 AM

You do realise that if the council doesnt fine people, parking revenue falls off and they start charging for parking at all times.

Cynical, me?Laugh

Find all posts by this user Reply
michael


Posts: 3,196
Joined: Mar 2005
Post: #17
08-03-2013 12:14 PM

I would suggest speaking to the manager at Sainsburys. It would be easy for them to put up a really big sign explaining that you need a ticket (except on Sunday) for free parking.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Jane_D


Posts: 189
Joined: Jan 2010
Post: #18
08-03-2013 06:24 PM

I agree about the need for a massive brightly-coloured sign saying YOU NEED A TICKET TO PARK. YOU NEED A TICKET EVEN THOUGH PARKING IS FREE. HAVE YOU GOT YOUR TICKET? GO AND GET YOUR TICKET NOW' or similar. I think that we see what we expect to see, and if we're not expecting to pay to park in a supermarket carpark, we don't notice signs saying how to do it. Different matter in an NCP park or whatever.

Find all posts by this user Reply
ringingcod


Posts: 84
Joined: Jun 2005
Post: #19
11-03-2013 11:37 AM

Quote:
I would suggest speaking to the manager at Sainsburys. It would be easy for them to put up a really big sign explaining that you need a ticket (except on Sunday) for free parking.


Such as sign exists already - I saw it yesterday (I was sensitive to the whole thing on the back of this thread). Admittedly you've already gone up in the lift to shop level, but they're trying.

Oh, and put me firmly in the "not a scam" camp.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Mr_Numbers


Posts: 508
Joined: May 2012
Post: #20
11-03-2013 12:01 PM

Parking in Forest Hill is a nightmare, and does nothing to encourage those quick 10-minute tasks to buy a card at Bunka or a bucket at the homewares shop or some pork chops from the butchers. So what happens? Sainsbury's in Sydenham...

Working ticket machines - two of them - would help.

Find all posts by this user Reply
Pages (2): « First [1] 2 Next > Last »

Friends of Blythe Hill Fields


Possibly Related Topics ...
Topic: Author Replies: Views: Last Post
  Sainsbury's Car Park "recycling" clausy 9 5,339 14-07-2015 06:46 AM
Last Post: jollyrog
  Anyone in Sainsburys/Pearcefield road car park this morning (Friday 23rd Dec)? ladywotlunches 3 3,212 23-12-2011 06:32 PM
Last Post: rshdunlop
  Parking machine in Sainsburys car park. Wilson 8 4,898 10-12-2011 08:31 AM
Last Post: shzl400
  Stondon Park Parking v_g0 7 4,081 14-06-2011 10:59 PM
Last Post: v_g0