2-hour free parking in Blenheim Centre for High Street shoppers

We have always argued that it needs to be made easier to park in the Blenheim Centre Car par as a way of encouraging High Street trade.
We’ve been working with our Town Centre Manager and the new owners of the car park, Creative Parking Solutions, and we’re pleased to confirm that 2 hour free parking has now been introduced. If you stay longer than 2 hours you will have to register and pay by mobile phone, as with many Bromley Car parking schemes, now. However, 2 hours free parking in the middle of the High Street should be a real boost to local traders. Welcome news.

The Blenheim Centre Car Park is accessed from Franklin Road, off Croydon Road.

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About pengeandcatorcouncillors

This blog is maintained by Cllr Kathy Bance MBE, Cllr Peter Fookes and Cllr Kevin Brooks, the Labour Party councillors for Penge & Cator ward on Bromley Council.
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63 Responses to 2-hour free parking in Blenheim Centre for High Street shoppers

  1. disgruntled says:

    Can you tell me the exact date the 2hrs free parking came into effect?

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    • Not sure when it came into effect, it is a private car park, but it was several months ago.

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      • Russ says:

        Dear councellor, My wife likes to shop in penge as my elderly mother lives close by. My wife parked there and overstayed by about 15 minutes.
        We received a parking fine notice and unfortunately ignored it (and ignored one solicitor’s letter ) and now have a court judgment for a total of 225 pounds (150 + about 75 pounds in fees)

        The other problem is that the court is in NORTHAMPTON, so is just too far for me to go if I wanted to try to defend these outrageous costs.

        Any advice would be helpful.

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      • Please contact us via email and we will see if we can offer any assistance on this.

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      • Unfortunately ignoring fines and solicitors letters puts you at odds with our recommendation.

        You can appeal and the instructions for this will be on the paperwork issued to you e.g. The fine.

        I do not think you will be able to appeal against the additional charges you incurred.

        We are happy to support any unwarranted fines but overstaying would come with a penalty.

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      • Contact us via email and we will review the situation.

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  2. A Shopper says:

    I revisited this car park today and the signs no longer refer to two hours free parking. They now confusingly say 0 – 2 hours £1.00! This needs to be clarified as otherwise people like me may be reluctant to use the car park if there is a risk of receiving a hefty parking ticket.

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    • The owners introduced payment for the first two hours a couple of weeks ago. This is damaging for the High Street though brings it in line with Bromley’s on-street parking. Various representations have been made to the owners and our Town Centre manager is taking it up with them.

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      • p says:

        And I agree with you, dreadfully damaging. But these ‘new owners’ are totally ripping off the public.I am trying to find contact details for them as I received a PCN even though I tried to pay and indeed thought I had as there were the regular prompts from the relevant number I had dialled. Lesson learnt, expensive one at that but I shall never park there again and perhaps shall not be going to the shopping centre until I can find appropriate and parking.

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  3. disgruntled says:

    No way was it several months ago because I paid and displayed but on the next occasion I sent my daughter with my purse to get a ticket (as we normally do whilst I get my young granddaughter out of the car) and she came back telling me ‘parking was free’ I asked ‘what do you mean by that?’ we continued to the lifts and she showed me the pay and display machines which had black plastic bags covering the slots with a written sign on them saying ‘parking is free today’. As no one else had a ticket on their vehicle we continued into Penge to shop. 2 weeks later I receive a PCN in the post telling me I’d parked without paying and it was for £100! I would never avoid paying and I have tried twice to have this fine revoked but they still insist I have to pay, it now lies with an independent company of whom I’ve had to pay to fight this for me, not happy with Civil Enforcement. I am glad I have read your comment ‘A Shopper’ otherwise I may well be fighting another parking fine next time I shop there totally unaware you now have to pay £1, what a joke this car park is and it does make me wonder how many other shoppers have been caught out by this, not good for the retail outlets as this will drive shoppers away if caught out blindly.

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    • p says:

      I totally agree with this comment. I parked and paid via telephone but received a PCN. I discovered that in fact no monies had come out of my account for parking although I entered my details as prompted when I thought I was paying for my parking. I might add that there were very few cars in the car park though -now I know why. Utterly disgraceful.

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  4. Val says:

    I visited the car park on Saturday 19th nov 14. Was shocked to see that you couldn’t pay and display with cash. You have to phone up register your car and card details. After all the waiting and plavour I gave up. Leaving the car park and went else where to shop. Not the fact I had to pay a pound it was all the hassle that went with it. Joke or what.last time I was in there it was free! All the stores are going to loose out on this , not at all good for local business.

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  5. Communicate Clearly says:

    This is totally unacceptable what the private firm has done here. They have not made it clear in any way that they have changed the payment levels and to go from being free to actually charging without clearly stating this is beyond a joke. They have not event changed the format of the posters or anything, everything just looks how it did before which means you don’t notice anything. I only noticed on my way out that the 0-2 hours now says £1 which would have been fine had I been made aware on my way in that there had been a fairly fundamental change from my usually free parking to now having to register via phone and book my car in. None of the machines in the centre work, all of them have bags on saying ‘don’t work’. If I get hit with a £100 bill like the person above for parking for 30 minutes then there will be all sorts of trouble.

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  6. Gin says:

    I’ve just received an utterly gobsmacking fine for £100 for the same unclear reasons. I parked there only a week earlier and it had definitely been free. I did notice the sign had changed and was about to get in my car and park elsewhere – having left my phone at home, only to be told by a kind gentleman that the first two hours were still definitely free. Worst decision ever having been persuaded to park there. And just to add insult to injury, I apparently ignored my original fine and am now paying full £100 because of it?! Has anyone actually received a sum for less than £100? Has anyone else been told an initial notice was also posted out but never actually received it? I am apsolutely gutted. What a cruel and I just system. The owners should be ashamed.

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    • Hello Gin

      Very sorry to hear this. At present we are looking at various issues with the car park including signage and working with LBB and traders to see if we can get any change to the way this car park is managed.

      Unfortunately the council have no control over parking fines.

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      • carley says:

        we are receiving fines for no reason though i am now being told my goods of my home are gong to be taken away if i don’t pay the fine. i was on the phone for 15 mins doing my payment card details entered and confirmed to be told they didn’t receive payment i also had 2 babies with me i done what i was supposed to so why am i now being peanolised i even rang to pay when i was told it is 2 hours free.

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      • If you send all the details to us by e-mail we will look at the history and see if you have a case.
        There has not been any free 2 hour parking for a long time.
        We are unable to provide a personal service for each case via the blog.

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  7. John says:

    Just wanted to say that I have had a problem with the Blenheim Centre car par and have been threatened with a fine. I made every attempt to pay but have ended up being treated extremely badly, I for one will not be using the car park again and therefore will not be shopping in Penge.

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  8. John says:

    All I can say is good luck as I do not think you will get anywhere. You will not be able to stop these issues. As a treat why don’t you try talking to the British Parking Association. By the way I ended up paying a reduced amount to avoid £100 fine, I would not have paid them a penny but my wife was very upset and as pensioners can ill afford £100.

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  9. I’ve parked at the Blenheim Penge car park yesterday the 25th March for almost 1 hour and 30 minutes, It’s very frustrated to pay the parking I tried to pay via
    mobile phone but unable to complete payment via my debit card, I guess their voicemail with an instruction un able to registered my details required, kept cutting off, I don’t understand I can’t access into the payment system. I had been repeated the details required but unable to get through their system. Please advise me with this I very most willing to pay the 1 and half hour stayed in the car park.
    Next time I don’t think I’ll be able to park there anymore and I have to cascade this to my
    friends and relatives and colleagues not to use the Blenheim Car park in Penge, until
    the owner will find a solution the easiest way to pay parking ie ticket machine in place.
    In future I might be able to park on the side road away from the high street. or may not go shopping in Penge. Please help how can I pay parking from yesterday. What happen if
    you don’t have mobile phone as my mother doesn’t have one? what’s going to happen then…..I
    I need some advise from the people had been affected with this problem at Blenheim Car Park.in Penge.

    Many thanks in anticipation

    With kind regards,

    EDWIN G.

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  10. Joan D'Arcy says:

    Surely the Council can do something about the parking at Blenheim Centre, my husband and I are not familiar with the carpark there but today parked there for about 30 minutes we wandered around trying to find either a machine or someone to pay and as neither of us have mobile phones were unable to make contact with theompany on my reurn home I have spent the last 45 minutes tryng to e mail the company but it bounces back, or ringing but they will not accept landline calls, can nobody establish whether or not one can still park for 2 hours free is still in operation.

    Joan D’Arcy

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    • Hello Joan

      We are looking at various options to make the car park work. This would mean that the leaseholder has to put some funding into the new format as the profits would go to the leaseholder so all the costs cannot be picked up by ratepayers, users, and the LBB. We have an active Town Centre Management Team in operation and this is high on their and our agenda.

      Like

  11. John says:

    Nobody should mind paying for parking as long as the system works and is fair, As a council you should involve trading standards as for one thing the signage is not adequate, any faults within the system will result in the consumer being fined as neither the company which takes the payment nor the management company want to resolve issues. The council should contact the British Parking Association about this. I will have no problem at all relating my experience to the council.

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    • Hello John

      We appreciate that there have been problems but we are working with the LBB,the Leaseholder of the car park, and our local traders, to get a system that works for all. An empty car park is of no use to Penge or the leaseholder. None of the parties involved want to get into discussion with passed parking tickets so we cant spend time going down that route. We will push forward to get the car park in use, accessible, and adequate signage put in place.

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  12. Joanne Beaven says:

    I parked in the Blenheim Shopping Centre, Penge car park on 29th May. I spent all of 11 minutes trying to pay and couldn’t sort out payment so decided to leave as a result. The car park had only four cars in and was very creepy! I was disgusted to receive a parking fine for £60 and if not paid within a certain time it would result in s £100 fine. This is absolutely ludicrous and I have since found out that quite a few other shoppers have received fines. There is no appropriate signage of car parking fees or payment advice on entering the car park so if you drive in and can’t pay you receive a fine. This must be a priority to sort out!

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    • Hello Joanne We are very upset to hear about continuing parking fines being issued and will visit the Car park today to see if we can identify the problem. New signage was being installed and several of the shops in High Street Penge now take payments so we are not sure what has gone wrong here. Will investigate and report back. However, I am sure that the leaseholder will not engage with us on parking fines.

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  13. John mead says:

    I have just received a £100 pcn.we have parked in the car park for a number of years now and always payed at pay and display we are both pensioners Ann can ilaford £100pounds. I will pay the reduced some of £60 but we will never shop in penge again we will now use crystal palace you can park in sainsburys car park for 2hours FREE.

    Like

    • Hello John

      sorry to hear this. For a while parking fines had not come to our attention from this car park but we will investigate and try to make things clearer to drivers. As below several of the local shops now take payment for parking. The leaseholder will not engage with us or LBB re. parking fines issued.

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  14. Gursel hussein says:

    Dear all

    I have also received a Parking Charge Notice, dated 17th June 2015, I was parked for 24 minutes, I spent at least 10 minutes looking for a pay machine, walking up and down two levels to try and find a pay machine, there were no clear signs indicating how to pay.

    I am shocked and disgusted to get this fine. The fine in its self does not look official, it comes across like a scam to cheat honest customers out of money.

    I will try to appeal and would suggest anyone in a similar situation creates a mail group to fight this unprofessional company.

    As others have mentioned I will NEVER use this carp park again until ownership changes.

    Does anyone have advise they could offer?

    This really is a shame for the area.

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  15. Mark says:

    I’ve also received a PCN for parking here, the PCN looks very amateurish and looks like a scam.

    I was also under the impression it was free parking, obviously I was wrong!

    I won’t shopping in Penge anymore

    Like

  16. Antoinette Ludick says:

    Hi all I received a parking fine of £60 today. I am very upset. I visited Blenheim shopping centre last week Thursday. I tried to call the number displayed to pay for parking but received an error message. There is no machine to pay. I then went about to do my shopping. The parking fine looks very suspicious and it looks like a scam to me. You need to call in with your bank card detail or pay online. Can someone please help I really do not want to be scammed. I will not be shopping in Penge in the future. I have been parking in the centre for many years and this is awful.

    Like

  17. Maureen says:

    I also received a ticket for Blenheim car park I believed I had registered I wrote sending them a cheque for £1 I also sent them copy’s of all complaints adding they were conning people they accepted my cheque.
    I would also like to point out this is not a parking ticket only an invoice. I got great advice from Beckenham Streetlife. Good luck to you all but do not pay the fine APPEAL.

    Like

  18. Maxine says:

    Yet another person trying to be scammed.
    I also tried to register both my car and debit card and believed that I had been successful
    I also like to visit Penge and support the retail community there. However I don’t think I will be doing so in the future.

    Like

    • Again sorry to hear this Maxine we are powerless to stop the fines but we are working to make changes and have a pay machine installed but funds are not immediately available for this.

      We are aware of the damage this is doing to our High Street.

      Like

  19. Janet says:

    I also parked, registered and thought that I paid on the 7th August 2015. I kind of knew something was not right, so we used my account rather then my husbands who runs a business. Now I received a fine for £60 as well! I will appeal as this clearly is a scam. I am not sure why they still get away with it as this problem has been known for a while. I will pass these information to “watchdog” tv show. Let them have a go at the scammers.

    Like

  20. Julia says:

    I have received a PCN also for staying only 13 minutes after trying to pay. Discusting and such a shame for Penge.

    Like

  21. Kim says:

    It appears that there has been no change, even though issues have been known for many, many months. My daughter parked in this car park in November and recently received a Parking Charge Notice (which is an invoice, not a fine according to MoneySavingExpert) after she parked, having thought she had paid. As they are using CCTV they are meant to give 21 days, not 14 (not sure the Parking Charge Notice is legal if they are spouting the wrong information). My daughter is appealing this invoice and has offered the £1 parking fee that she thought she had originally paid. Such a shame that unscrupulous companies are dragging Penge down in this way. No wonder people don’t park here.

    Like

    • There has been no change yet and still a way to go before we do see a change.
      However, more people are refusing to pay these fines and they are being waived.
      Heard of another case today involving a person with severe disabilities so we will give them some advice so they can try to get that rescinded.
      Not a positive comment but we will find out the current status of the proposed sale of the Blenheim Centre a report back.

      Like

  22. Joy says:

    I parked on the 11th December – and tried for over 10 mins to pay by phone, I got cut off each time I tried. I eventually gave up thinking the phone system can’t have been working. I parked for a total of 33 mins and rushed my shopping in order not to stay long.
    Nearly a month later I received a fine of £60 which I have appealed (but heard nothing back yet).

    This is clearly a scam to run the carpark through fines rather than by actual hourly payments which is why they use the phone system rather than a meter. I will not shop in penge again as a result of this and having googled that car park it has affected a lot of people through unwarranted fines. I sometimes don’t have my phone with me – or it has run out of battery so a carpark using purely a phone system is surely discriminatory. Has anyone tried trading standards?

    Like

    • Sorry this has happened to you, and many others.
      Those that have challenged the fines and not paid up have been successful.
      Others have chosen to pay rather than confront the issue but our advice is to challenge. We have given the appropriate details for this in earlier posts.
      The car park has been sold along with the Blenheim Shopping complex and the new owners plan to have a working car park asap. We look forward to this.

      Like

      • Joy says:

        Update from Fine from December 2015 – I emailed my appeal to the PCN months ago and still have had no reply – but also no further letter relating to the fine – so I’m hoping that it has been overturned – so I would advise not to pay the fine but to appeal –

        Like

      • Maxine says:

        Hi there,
        I challenged a PCN after being caught in this scam 11 months ago and like you heard nothing back. However last week I received a demand for £200 from a company called ZAPP! Who say they are a collection agency working on behalf of the owners.

        Maxine

        Like

      • Lots of companies sell on debts for collection but we strongly advise people not to pay fines when unable to purchase tickets in this car park.

        Like

  23. Julia says:

    I parked there on February 6 and like many others tried to pay. I registered the car and payment details and proceeded with the payment. As far as I was aware the payment went through. However, I received a PCN on April 7. I checked the bank statement and my card was never charged. Trying to appeal using the phone statement as proof. Also, trying to recover the costs that I incurred as a result of the PCN (they did not attach a stamp so I had to pay to receive the letter). Very unpleasant experience. I view it as fraud as the company is given instructions to take the payment but it does not, as such it deceives in order to get a financial gain (£1 vs £60). I do not understand why council cannot take action when there are so many cases.
    Also, you mention that the new owner plans to get the car parking working and that the managing comapny is Star Park. It looks like the new managing company is Versatile Parking which has the same directors as Star Park. I hope that changing the managing company (with the same directors) is not seen as a solution by the new owner as the practise has not changed.

    Like

    • The New River Company are the new owners of the Blenheim Centre and are at present negotiating over the car park as they want to take over the running of this and make it work for Penge. At present it is not in their control at all.
      The current franchise companies are making money from fines as they do not make enough from car parking – their words.
      We agree that the way this company operates is wholly unpleasant but it is not illegal. Therefore,
      LBB have no control and neither do the police.
      Our advice remains the same – do not pay the fine – go to appeal over the ticket. We will support any legal claim. Our police have been made aware of some of these outrageous fines too.
      We are working with other local organisations and are regularly getting updates regarding the new owners but meantime this company continue to operate and so the car park is not functional.

      Like

  24. Erica says:

    I parked here on 17/3/16. Once parked up I telephoned the number on the sign and went through the registration requirements. I then received confirmation that my details had been updated, and received no further instruction. About 4 weeks later I received a fine. This is clearly designed to get money out of people as there a so many stories similar to mine. I am currently appealing this decision and awaiting a response.

    Like

  25. Louise Brooks says:

    Hi there. I ignored the PCNs because I knew they were a scam, and realise now I should have probably appealed at that point. Since had the ZZPS letter and the Wright Hassall letter (they are really taking the mick with that name aren’t they??) which I have every intention of ignoring. Question is: should I attempt to appeal at this point? If so, to who? Civil Enforcement Ltd? Or should I just continue to ignore? I have the proof of payment attempt. Cheers in advance for the advice.

    Like

    • Louise, it is best not to ignore any letter which relates to overdue payments etc.
      I would write back to the Wright Hassell letter and explain in your own words that that you had tried to pay and that the signage and payment method at this car park has been set up to fail. You will therefore not be paying any unreasonable parking fine, which you do not think is genuine. That way you have been as cooperative and possible.

      Like

  26. Stephen says:

    Just want to add another incident to this long list.

    Parked on 4/4/16 and went through the registration process. I was very much left under the impression I had paid for me parking. I have just received a PCN and I will be appealing. This is an absolutely disgraceful situation that can only be having a negative impact on the high street. Crooks.

    Like

    • We fully agree with you and this issue will again be raised at the next Town Centre Team Meeting.
      Again we have to advise that the LBB have no influence here but we Cllrs will support all unreasonable Parking Fine cases and continue to work to get this car park working for our town.

      Like

  27. Jody Byron-Smith says:

    Hi I wonder if you can help?
    My mother parked in this car park in july 2015, she looked for a machine to pay on both floors did not find one, she asked a fellow padestrian who told her she has to pay by phone, as she did and not understand what she meant and had not seen anything regarding the phone payment system, she got back in her car and drove away, not visiting the shopping center at all. A few weeks later she recieved a PNC which she replied to explaining the above situation and saying she doesn’t feel she is liable for this payment. She heard nothing back so assumed it was overturned and that was the end of it.
    On the 3rd of may 2016 she received a letter from ZZPS saying she owes £200 for the parking fine and then a further letter on the 23/5/16 from Wright Hassall saying she know owes £236. I have just spoken to Wright Hassall after a 15 minute hold and I have been told that regardless of her appeal she needs to pay the amount but that they will contact the car park management company to see if they have received her appeal and what happened with it. They said she should have received notification that the appeal was accepted or not however nothing has been received. Is she liable to pay this? We are both fuming and feel this is an absolute disgrace if she is liable. Does anyone have any idea what she should do and if she should pay?
    Many thanks

    Like

    • There is a great deal of history with the running of this car park.
      We are not going to direct you either way and the decision is yours as we and LBB have no control in this car park.

      However, most people who do not pay these fines, did try to pay by phone so there is mitigation as the phone system did not work.
      The advice we are giving is not to pay but do not ignore letters demanding payment – write back and say that you dispute the charge because of the inability to make the payment and the appeal needs to be heard before you decide whether or not to make the payment.
      We are hearing about people paying the fines and that’s the end of the issue.
      We are also hearing about people not paying the fines at all.
      We will support any claim against unfair fines in this car park.
      However, if the matter should go to court, the judge will make the decision.
      This is on the agenda for a meeting this week.

      Like

      • Hi Jody,
        I am having the same experience as your mother. I have spoken to Civil Enforcement Ltd, ZZP and now Wright Hassall.
        Like yourselves, I also appealed the PCN for the same reasons. When I informed Wright Hassall of this, they let me know that Civil Enforcement Ltd have no record of my appeal. It would seem that they do not log appeals. This I can only assume is accidentally or intentionally.
        I have just written to Mr Hawker at Wright Hassall, informing him that I will not be paying this extortionate sum of £236.00. You will see from my earlier posts and those of others that you are not alone in this matter and would advise to hold your ground, if you believe your mother is being treated unfairly.

        Like

    • Hi Jody
      I am currently experiencing the same problem as your mother.
      Wright Hassall LLP are demanding £236. They say that Civil Enforcements did not receive My appeal. I believe that they have accidentally or more likely intentionally not logged it (also part of the scam to get you to pay). I have informed them today that I will not be paying and would advise you to do the same. Why would you pay them if you believe your in the right. Stand your ground my dear.

      Like

      • Thank you Maxine for your post. There is a meeting tonight and we will raise the subject of the Car Park to find out what the current status is with the new owners of the Blenheim Complex.
        They have no responsibility for the car park yet but were hoping to take it on and make it work.
        We will also raise this again at council meeting but we are aware that LBB have no control over this private franchise.
        Its a very difficult situation but we will keep pushing for a resolution and again, we will offer our support against all unjustified parking fines.

        Like

      • At the Penge Town Centre meeting last night our Town Centre Manager, Lorraine McQuillan advised that the New River Retail Ltd has been invited by the LBB to discuss their plans for the Blenheim car park.
        We reported the continuing saga of the difficulties in payment and the fact that some people are receiving unjustified parking fines. We will now ensure that the LBB Officers are aware of this issue so that it is also raised at that meeting. We will continue to provide updates as the process continues.

        Like

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