Former MP on warpath over park­ing charge

Ex­clu­sive

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Ticket Dispute - By Ai­dan Bar­low

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.

What do you think? Write to Ken­tish Ex­press, Unit 4 Park Mall Shop­ping Cen­tre Ash­ford TN24 8RY or email ken­tish­ex­press@ thek­m­group.co.uk

Lem­bit Opik was given a park­ing fine at Eureka Place

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