A shocked cinema goer has been ordered to pay a fine of £100 - after failing to notice three-hour parking restrictions signs at Clitheroe's popular Holmes Mill establishment.
The Holmes Mill car park is home to cameras operated by ES Parking Enforcement Ltd that watch when customers come and go. Those who stay longer than three hours, face being hit with a fine of £100, reduced to £60 if they pay within 14 days.
Nigel Worswick, who visited Everyman Cinema, Greenacre Street, and received the fine days later, is warning other customers not to fall into the same 'trap'.
Nigel, who lives in Blackburn, said: "I was meeting a friend and having heard about the luxurious sofas and food served, we decided to try out the Everyman Cinema in Clitheroe. Not being local, I managed to find the Everyman car park and drove in at 5:06pm. I remember it being dark and being dazzled by cars coming out of the car park, and them also looking for places. After having eventually found a parking place, I got out of my car and, as it was a poor night, ran straight to the cinema. With films nowadays there is always 20-30 minutes of trailers and adverts so it is easy to overrun the current time allocation of three hours. When the film finished, we went next door for one drink to 'catch up' before parting . I was therefore shocked to recently receive a parking notice with a £100 fine for being only 23 minutes over the time allowed. After further investigation it appears that this is a widespread issue, especially to people who are not familiar with the area, and is bound to put people off visiting these amenities if, like me, if they are charged £100 for the privilege by being caught in this 'trap'!"
He added: "This is unfair and has really left a sour taste on what should have been a good night out. I do feel that anyone attending the cinema should be allowed an extension to cover the fact that they are going to be in there a while or the signs should be illuminated for car park users to take note."
Responding, a spokesman for Holmes Mill, said: "The car park at Holmes Mill is a short stay car park with a maximum stay time of three hours, a time limit that has always been in place at the venue since opening in 2016. We advise all visitors via our website and on signage across the site to park in the cost effective and readily available local provision of Long Stay public car parks on Whalley Road or Mitchell Street. As a condition on our planning permission to develop Holmes Mill, we are required by the council to have a management scheme in place and we’ve always had a time limited parking period of three hours. We have resisted enforcing the limited stay time, but to continue developing the site we have no choice but to control the available parking, managed via a third party parking company. Several other businesses in the area operate similar parking time limits including Sainsbury's, as our close neighbour, who have a two-hour limit and Home Base who restrict to 90 minutes. If we didn’t control the car park the site would not be able to sustain the various businesses onsite. We believe the venue has been a wonderful addition to the town and the wider borough, employs more people, over 200, than it did when it original operated as a mill. We do, however, operate in a town centre site and therefore must adhere to both our planning permission and space we have available. The car park and cameras are managed by an external provider (ES parkingenforcements) and Holmes Mill does not take any income from this. We are, however, continually looking at alternative arrangements to ensure the site operates in a sustainable manner."
No one from ES Parking Enforcement Ltd was available to comment.