Double-whammy from parking control

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I write in response to John MacDonald’s letter (The Oban Times, Thursday January 5) regarding parking enforcement in supermarket car parks.

I recently visited the new Lidl supermarket in Oban and read thoroughly the signs that were displayed in the car park. The bit about having a 90-minute maximum stay was acceptable, although sometimes I do get a little waylayed in the non-food section, looking at all those gadgets, tools and dads’ toys, so sometimes 90 minutes is barely enough.

The part of the notice that said ‘no return within two hours’ concerns me though. This can easily lead to a situation where you patronise the company, spending your hard-earned money in there, and then get slapped with a big fine because you’ve nipped back half an hour later to pick up something that you’d forgotten on your first visit. Also, if different persons within the same household use the same car, one could easily incur a penalty despite having no knowledge of the vehicle’s previous entry to the car park.

I totally understand the need to police car parking effectively, as there are, and always will be, a selfish minority of persons who will abuse a free parking provision. However, this should not be affected by a device that financially punishes bona-fide repeat customers, and it occurs to me that surely the computers can be programmed to recognise a short-term return visit within a defined period.

There are no dedicated customer service advisers within the store but I did speak about my concerns to a colleague who was unable to assist me. I then called the head office of Lidl to discuss the matter further, but was advised that the parking enforcement arrangements are ‘company policy’.

So I think the message has to be that we all must watch very carefully where and when we are driving, or we may be on the receiving end of an unfair penalty.

Ivan Woolley, MIoR,
Thomdobrich, Lochaline, Morvern.