‘Unsuspecting shoppers’ caught out by new Larne parking charges

A Smart Parking sign at the Latharna Retail Park.
A Smart Parking sign at the Latharna Retail Park.

A company which operates a car park in Larne has urged anyone who feels they have been incorrectly charged following the introduction of time limits at the site to contact them.

Smart Parking issued the advice after concerns were voiced about the recently introduced restrictions at the Latharna Retail Park in Larne.

In a statement issued to the Times, a Smart Parking spokesperson said: “To counter high levels of parking abuse, in October we introduced a new state of the art ANPR parking management system to insure genuine customers can always find a place to park.

“As part of this we installed 26 signs across the site which clearly highlight the new term and conditions of use, and the vast majority of motorists who use the car park have done so without any issues. However, it is important to say that when parking on private land motorists should always check the terms and conditions of use before deciding to park.

“Smart Parking are members of the British Parking Association and strictly follow its guidelines. We operate a BPA audited appeals process, and would encourage anybody who feels they have incorrectly received a charge to contact us.”

The firm issued the response after claims were made that a number of east Antrim residents have been caught by the automated Smart Parking controlled fines at the Narrow Gauge Road retail park.

East Antrim MLA Roy Beggs has voiced concerns about the system.

The Ulster Unionist representative said: “There had previously been free parking at the Latharna Retail Park, and now many unsuspecting motorists are being caught out by the new automated camera control system.

“I have been contacted by a number of motorists who have been caught out for a relatively short overstay and received fines of £60 which would rise to £100.

“If anyone is in a similar situation, please contact my office on 028 9336 2995 as I have been able to have some fines cancelled due to loopholes in legislation.”