Former MP on warpath over parking charge
A radio broadcaster and former MP is on the warpath after he was “slapped” with a parking charge at a retail park.
Lembit Opik was visiting the One Stop shop at Eureka Place off Trinity Road, and had parked in what he believed was a marked car parking space outside.
Yet when he returned to his Volvo, the BBC Radio Kent presenter found he was being given a ticket, and remonstrated with the attendant from Parking Ticketing Ltd.
The company has been known to dish out fines to motorists who park on a strip of land near the entrance, which is not considered a “marked bay”.
Mr Opik, a former Lib-Dem MP, said: “I was just popping into the One Stop for five minutes, and when I returned I was appalled to discover the ticket.
“It looked to me like a parking bay, another motorist had also parked there.
“There was no safety issue and I was not inconveniencing anyone. No reasonable man could have thought otherwise.
“If you don’t know the area, it looks just like another car parking space.
“I had an amicable conversation with the attendant and there weren’t any foul words, but he washed his hands of it.”
The incident on Friday followed Mr Opik’s broadcast about the issue on his radio show, where listeners called in to explain some of their worst experiences at the hands of private car parking firms.
Now, the former Montgomeryshire MP says he will appeal against the charge, and has vowed to take on the private parking firms on behalf of other affected motorists.
He said: “This is not the end of it. Somebody has to take a stand. It could cause damage to the reputation of the shopping centre.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t want a high profile boycott or demonstration to cost them busi- Lembit Opik on the radio ness. It is utterly unreasonable to slap a parking charge like this.
“I have 13 years experience as a Member of Parliament, so I have some idea of how these systems work.
“So I will use my political and professional experience and will do everything in my power to bring this matter to a head.”
Mr Opik has challenged bosses at Parking Ticketing Ltd to meet him in the car park to justify the legal and moral merits of the parking policy there.
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Lembit Opik was given a parking fine at Eureka Place